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Spirituality Helps Some Traverse the Final Years Journey

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End-of-life care should take the whole person into consideration and be sensitive to personal, cultural, and spiritual beliefs and practices, noted CARP in “A Guide to End-of-Life Care for Seniors.” Addressing spiritual concerns at the end of life may be important to the person’s well-being; however, spirituality can mean different things to different people.

Even before someone reaches their final days, though, experts note that spirituality helps people deal with the unknown elements of life and gives purpose. Spirituality also may help individuals develop inner strength that can be used during difficult times

Each person’s spirituality is unique. And, according to experts, spiritual wellness is achieved as a person’s actions become more consistent with their belief systems.

Because spirituality is based on an individual’s inner being, each person addresses it differently. But, according to AARP, researchers have found some aspects of spiritual fulfillment are universal, such as:

Finding meaning in one’s life

“Is my life worthwhile?” This is a common question asked by the seriously ill. People are trying to find out whether they have made an impact on the lives of others close to them and society as a whole. Doing a life review — looking at photographs, watching movies or listening to music from particular periods — allows them to reminisce about events and relationships throughout their lives. It can let them rediscover legacies, meaning and spiritual strengths.

Dying as you wish

Terminally ill persons can die meaningfully in a way that is consistent with their own identity. Because death is a personal experience, each person will define his or her own appropriate death differently. As part of this process, a terminally ill person may seek to feel connected to others. This may lead to maintaining and deepening existing relationships, putting affairs in order and taking care of unfinished business.

Having hope beyond the grave

Another spiritual need is transcendence, or a person’s awareness and acknowledgement of issues that transcend, or go beyond, earthly concerns. Each person may want assurance that, in some way, life will continue after death occurs. Some people may turn to God for guidance and comfort, while others may focus on the legacy they leave behind.

Additional Resources:

What it Means to Live Well to the End
Compose Your Life SongSM Music Generator

Last revised: February 23, 2018

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