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The Journal on Active Aging brings articles of value to professionals dedicated to older-adult quality of life. Content sweeps across the active-aging landscape to focus on education and practice. Find articles of interest by searching the article archives in three ways: Enter a keyword in the articles search bar; click on search by topic; or type a keyword or phrase in the general search bar at the top of the page.

Topic- Spiritual wellness

 

Spiritual health and active aging: A perspective by Stephanie Ludwig, MDiv, MA, PhD-6006

Spiritual health and active aging: A perspective by Stephanie Ludwig, MDiv, MA, PhD

Each morning 67-year-old John gets on his road bike and cycles through the northern foothills of Tucson, Arizona. Each year he gets slower, he says, but he always returns home from riding with a sweaty, relaxed, smiling face that radiates joy. John has ridden solo and with other cyclists for decades, and continues to do so because it brings him peace in body, mind and spirit as well as a sense of community. It also inspires him to be of service to others. Over the years he has found creative and meaningful ways to share his passion for cycling and bike-friendly communities through volunteerism and philanthropy. The physical, emotional and mental benefits of an active lifestyle are documented by researchers, and well known through direct experience by people like John. Far less considered are the benefits of an active lifestyle for spiritual health--especially approaching exercise and movement as spiritual practice.

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Spiritual wellness

Brookdale's Ageless Spirit initiative supports spiritual wellness in later life-3649

Brookdale's Ageless Spirit initiative supports spiritual wellness in later life

Established in 1978, Brookdale Senior Living ... “is committed to providing an exceptional living experience,” comments Public Relations Manager Andrea Turner. Optimum Life®, Brookdale’s philosophy of well-being, “establishes the foundation for a positive aging experience by supporting the whole-person wellness of residents and associates through six key dimensions,” Turner says. “Each year, the Optimum Life team identifies one dimension of wellness as the foundation for developing an annual wellness theme,” states Carol Cummings, BSN, RN, CHWC, director of Optimum Life development. “As part of the theme, a campaign is launched that includes educational and health promotion programs developed to enrich the lives of residents and associates and further position Brookdale as a leader in senior health and wellness. The most recent program, The Ageless Spirit, focuses on the spiritual wellness dimension.”

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Spiritual wellness

Support spiritual wellness through creative outdoor design by Jack Carman, FASLA, and Nancy Carman, MA, CMC-1332

Support spiritual wellness through creative outdoor design by Jack Carman, FASLA, and Nancy Carman, MA, CMC

Wellness—it’s a concept we are instinctively drawn to. As health and wellness professionals, to instill wellness in a community or facility, we need to break it down into various components to help us understand its role in creating positive quality of life. Of all the dimensions of wellness—physical, social, intellectual, emotional, spiritual and vocational—spiritual wellness may be the most personal and possibly the hardest for us to quantify. Yet spiritual wellness is also the dimension that adds depth and meaning to the other five.

What does spiritual wellness mean? In 1975, the term “spiritual well-being” was defined by the National Interfaith Coalition on Aging, a National Council on Aging special interest group, as “the affirmation of life in relationship with God, self, community and environment that nurtures and celebrates wholeness.”1 The spiritual aspect of wellness, as defined by the National Wellness Institute, “recognizes our search for meaning and purpose in human existence.”2 It is a lifelong journey in which we seek ways that demonstrate “values through behaviors, such as meditation, prayer and contemplation of life/death, as well as appreciating beauty, nature and life.”3

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Spiritual wellness

Spiritual wellness: finding connections for optimal health and successful aging by Donald DeMars, AIA, IIDA-1324

Spiritual wellness: finding connections for optimal health and successful aging by Donald DeMars, AIA, IIDA

When Colin Milner, founder of the International Council on Active Aging® and publisher of this Developer’s Guide, invited me to submit an article on spiritual wellness, I thought to myself, “Why, my entire life has prepared me to write an article on this subject!” I’m certainly in the “aging cycle” at the age of 67. I’ve had my share of life’s challenges. I’m still extremely productive, and happy every day—all of this I attribute to my spiritual wellness.

Beginnings
Although I’ve spent the last 30 years as an architect and development consultant helping people achieve optimal environments for health, it was an eventful journey reaching this profession.

Beginning with a difficult encounter with polio at age 10 that included two years in an iron lung and left me with paralysis, some back deformity and years of rehabilitative surgeries, I’ve spent my life living with limited vital capacity and post-polio syndrome. I had supportive parents, and the good fortune to encounter a dynamic “significant other”—a young Lutheran pastor who took an interest in me and encouraged me to think about the ministry. This gave my life direction, and motivated me to catch up the four years of school I had missed in just one year’s time. I graduated from college and spent almost three years in the seminary, including one year of clinical counseling training. How then did I become an architect? And what has all of this to do with spiritual wellness? In my third year of seminary, I found out who I was and what I was really meant to do. I left to pursue art and design (it’s in my genes!) and a new calling: To design and develop health and fitness environments conducive to creating quality of life at any age.

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Spiritual wellness

Challenge as spiritual care by Nancy Gordon, MDiv, CASP-1019

Challenge as spiritual care by Nancy Gordon, MDiv, CASP

Since I came to the California Lutheran Homes Center for Spirituality and Aging, many staff in retirement communities and long-term care have said to me, “You know, I’m really not very spiritual and I have a hard time understanding how to serve the spiritual needs of residents.” Also, our system’s Vitality team leader has expressed frustration about the inability to quantitatively measure the effectiveness of programming around spirituality. She can provide hard numbers on the increased fitness of virtually any participant in her fitness and swimming programs, but how does she or anyone else measure spiritual growth?

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Spiritual wellness

Spirituality in the real world: challenges and opportunities by Marilynn Larkin-472

Spirituality in the real world: challenges and opportunities by Marilynn Larkin

The holiday season, perhaps more than any other time of the year, brings the concept of spirituality to the fore. Yet, among the 6 dimensions of wellness that many active aging professionals strive to foster in their environments, the spiritual dimension seems to present the most challenges.

There is little consensus about what spirituality means in the context of older adult settings, how to make the vision a reality, or who should spearhead these efforts. But as managers and staff grapple with these issues, they share at least one thing in common: recognition that integrating the spiritual dimension of wellness is important.

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Spiritual wellness

Total items: 13

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