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Palliative Care, Ageing and Spirituality: A Guide for Older People, Carers and Families

by Elizabeth Mackinlay Jessica Kingsley Publishers
Pub Date:
Pbk 144 pages
AU$29.99 NZ$30.43
Product Status: Available in Approx 5 days
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Being able to think and speak about death on a spiritual level can be an important source of strength for those who are dying and their loved ones. This sensitive and compassionate book acts both as a guide for older people as they near the end of life, and as a source of suggestions for practical ways in which relatives and carers can offer support.

Illustrated with many examples, the book considers the emotional and spiritual dimension of death and dying, exploring themes such as pain, distress and suffering, fear of dying, prayer, acceptance that death will come, intimacy and dying, the healing of relationships and the final days and hours of life. The particular spiritual needs of older people with dementia at the end of life are also explored, as are the ways in which partners and relatives of those who are dying, or who have died, can deal with grief and loss and ultimately come to terms with the death of their loved one.

This concise and accessible book will be a valuable resource for those in the caring professions, and a source of comfort and support for older people who are dying and their families.

Preface. Introduction: About growing older, dying and death. 1. Grief and loss: A part of life. 2. Fear of dying. 3. The final life career: Is this only a time of waiting for death? Or is there something more? 4. Acceptance that death will come. 5. Pain, distress and suffering. 6. Prayer. 7. Responding to meaning: symbol and ritual. 8. Transcendence in the process of death and dying. 9. Healing of relationships. 10. Intimacy and dying. 11. Dementia and dying. 12. Ethical and moral issues in death and dying. 13. The final days and hours of the journey. 14. Learning to live without my partner. Further reading. Appendices. Index.

The phrase 'a good death' seems ridiculous, but what is really meant is a good approach to death, with minimal physical pain, and the best chance of mental and spiritual calm to face the end. Not an easy task and therefore a book such as this containing helpful advice and real examples can be a useful aid to not only professionals perhaps facing palliative care for the first time, but also to families and friends who can have much to offer in bringing comfort and ease... This book, by being non-technical is also of value to the relatives and friends of those approaching the end of their mortal life.
Elizabeth MacKinlay is both a registered nurse and an Anglican priest. She is Director of the Centre for Ageing and Pastoral Studies at St Mark's National Theological Centre, Canberra, and a Professor in the School of Theology, Charles Sturt University. Elizabeth was Chair of the ACT Ministerial Advisory Council on Ageing in 2008 and is the ACT Senior Australian of the Year for 2009.