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Spirituality and Aging

by Robert C Atchley Johns Hopkins University Press
Pub Date:
Hbk 224 pages
AU$96.00 NZ$99.13
Product Status: Available in Approx 14 days
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A spiritual life, one focused on personal growth and deep human experience, is a major focus and motivator for people over the age of forty. Yet gerontology as a field of knowledge and practice has lagged behind this population in understanding spirituality’s importance in the lives of aging people. Noted gerontologist Robert C Atchly remedies this problem by developing complex concepts and language bout spirituality.
Spirituality and Aging incorporates material from two decades of interviews, observations, study, and reflection to illustrate ways of thinking about and discussing spirituality — what it is, why it is important, and how it influences the experience of aging. This book provides a nuanced view of spirituality and the richness it rings o the lives of older people.
The book is divided into three sections, with the first providing basic frames of reference for examining spirituality and aging, such as the nature of spirituality, spiritual development, and the spiritual self. Atchley next focuses on two dimensions of spirituality that are likely to manifest later in life: becoming a sage (developing the capacity to bring spiritual light to every-day issues) and serving from spirit (creating opportunities for service that are rooted in spirituality). The last section illustrates how spirituality informs other aspects of late life, such as psychological coping and the experience of dying and death.
Separating spirituality from religion - something few books on this topic do - Spirituality and Aging offers a plan for incorporating spirituality into gerontological scholarship, research, education, and practice.
“Atchley’s book is an enormous, and unprecedented, contribution to the field. The book will be very important and he’s absolutely the best person to write it.” Harry R. Moody, Director Office o f Academic Affairs, AARP
“This is a wise and important work that could make a difference in the way aging persons, and gerontologists, think about spirituality and aging.” —Susan H McFadden, The University f Wisconsin, Oshkosh

PrefaceAcknowledgmentsIntroduction: Setting the StagePart I: Basic Frames of Reference1. The Nature of Spiritual Experience2. Spiritual Development3. Spirituality, Spiritual Self, and Spiritual IdentityPart II: Spirtual Journeying4. Becoming a Sage and a Spiritual Elder: Transpersonal Psychology5. Transpersonal Sociology and Serving from SpiritPart III: Examples Using an Expanded View6. Continuity, Spiritual Growth, and Coping in Later Adulthood7. Spiritual Beliefs and Practices and the Experience of Time and Aging8. Spirituality and the Experience of Dying and DeathConclusion: Summary, Reflections, and ImplicationsAppendix A: Spirituality InventoryAppendix B: Questions for Reflection and Spiritual Self-AssessmentNotesReferencesIndex

"Understanding Atchley's spiritual perspective on aging will benefit readers both inside and outside of academia."

Robert C. Atchley is a distinguished professor of gerontology emeritus at Miami University, Ohio, where he also served as the director of the Scripps Gerontology Center. Professor Atchley was previously a professor and chair of the Department of Gerontology at the Naropa Institute, in Boulder, Colorado, and is the author of Social Forces and Aging and of Continuity and Adaptation in Aging: Creating Positive Experiences, also published by Johns Hopkins.