It is acknowledged that spirituality and religion play a significant role in treating older adults. These patients often reflect on their lives, but they do not usually share their concerns about the search for meaning, religion, or spirituality if not asked, so it is essential to help these people articulate and share their ideas and thoughts (Nelson-Becker, 2005). Two articles by Nelson-Becker (2005) and Nelson-Becker et al. (2007) are valuable sources for social workers who want to improve their skills in treating older patients since these works provide data of scientific research supported by many examples from real life.
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One of the main points considered is that spiritual assessment is a potent tool that any social worker should use (Nelson-Becker, 2005). It is important to make the patient understand what exactly religion and spirituality mean to him/her. The assessment will also help identify those domains which can be explored by the patient with the assistance of the social worker.
It is also noted that the spiritual behavior of an older adult can find a way to help him/her cope with the difficulties he/she faces at present. Going to the church, attending services is meant for older people. For instance, Nelson-Becker (2005) claims that prayers often help patients find relief. Nelson-Becker et al. (2007) also state that prayer is often associated with belief and spirituality. Admittedly, social workers should take into account this information.
Apart from this Nelson-Becker (2005) points out that it is important to consider social support when treating older adults. Social workers should identify what patients are waiting for from such support and who is the best “supporter” for them, in their point of view. It goes without saying that this is very valuable information since a social worker will be able to know what exactly to do to comfort older patients.
I would like to point out that I was thinking about these issues before I read the articles. I understood that religion and spirituality can give many answers to older adult patients. Clearly, older patients need a specific approach where religion and spirituality play a central role. However, I must admit that my ideas were not properly outlined and I did not have the necessary experience to make sure I was correct in my assumptions.
However, the articles under consideration have become a certain experience for me. Nelson-Becker provides results of scientific research that are supported by many facts from real life. The researcher gives a list of questions to be asked to identify the best ways to assist older adults. Admittedly, sometimes it can be difficult to find the right words or topics for discussion to make older adults trust you and share their ideas and longings. The articles help solve these difficulties since they outline the most important points to mind when treating older adults in terms of spirituality and religion.
It goes without saying that I will use the information provided in the articles in my social work practice. I will be able to provide high-quality assistance to such patients because I acknowledged valuable information. For instance, now I understand the essence of such notions as spirituality, spiritual assessment in terms of older adult care. I also know how important religion and spirituality can be. Finally, I obtained a certain amount of experience when reading the articles in which I can adhere to my practice. I know those essential points to take into account when communicating with older adults. All this will undoubtedly help me understand the needs of older adults and help them cope with their difficulties.
Nelson-Becker, H. (2005). Religion and Coping in Older Adults: A Social Work Perspective. Journal of Gerontological Social Work, 45(1-2), 51-67.
Nelson-Becker, H., Nakashima, M., & Canda, E.R. (2007). Spiritual Assessment in Aging: A Framework For Clinicians. Journal of Gerontological Social Work, 48(3-4), 331-347.