Spiritual Care for Elderly

Whomsoever We give long life, We reverse him in creation. Then do they not think? (Quran: 36:67)
Commentary: This means that when a man is extremely old, his faculties of seeing, hearing, understanding etc. are weakened and he is reversed to the state of childhood in many respects.

Eden Philosophy; A Guiding Philosophy in residential care homes
The Eden philosophy is based on 10 principles that, when followed, provide guidance on how we can help elders continue living meaningful lives when they become too frail to live independently. It creates an environment that reduces feelings of loneliness, helplessness, and boredom experienced by many elders living in care homes.
Loneliness is the pain we feel when we want companionship but cannot find it; the feeling of being completely alone even when surrounded by people.
Helplessness is defined as the pain we feel when we only receive care, but never give it. These imbalances between caregiving and receiving are the result of believing that those living in nursing homes only need our help and have nothing left to give.
Boredom is the pain we feel when our lives lack variety and spontaneity. When we live in a world where there are no surprises left. Imagine living the rest of your life in a world like that.
Eden Approach
• How to help elders to continue living a meaningful life
• Fostering a relationship with caregivers, residents, family members, and community
• Caring body, mind, and spirit
• Caregivers not only understand their physical needs but also try to understand who they are as a person, where they came from, how can we help them.
• Alleviating loneliness, helpless, boredom by learning about who is important to them, what opportunities they have for companionship, meaningful activities, what gives them purpose on a day to day life, what from their life story we can learn the meanings they had in their life before and try to incorporate them into their current situation.
• Developing the home-like environment
• Creating the sense of community
• Replacing institutional care with community or neighborhood
• Each person is seeing as a unique individual and they get to know each other and become like a community
• Staff members are encouraged to adopt an interactive style and pay attention to the verbal and non-verbal ways that residents respond to when being cared.
• Best decision can only be made as a team. An individual decision is not always the best.
• Children love to come here. It is so joyous and happy movement for the residents when they mingle up with them and talk to them. Having kids around brings back a lot of good memories of their childhood
• Incorporating plants, animal, family, children to make sense of meaning and purpose.

Eden Principles
The ten Eden philosophies of care include:
1. The three plagues of loneliness, helplessness, and boredom account for the bulk of suffering among our elders.
2. An elder-centered community commits to creating a human habitat where life revolves around close and continuing contact with plants, animals, and children. It is these relationships that provide the young and old alike with a pathway to a life worth living.
3. Loving companionship is the antidote to loneliness. Elders deserve easy access to human and animal companionship.
4. An elder-centered community creates an opportunity to give as well as receive care. This is the antidote to helplessness.
5. An elder-centered community imbues daily life with variety and spontaneity by creating an environment in which unexpected and unpredictable interactions and happenings can take place. This is the antidote to boredom.
6. Meaningless activity corrodes the human spirit. The opportunity to do things that we find meaningful is essential to human health.
7. Medical treatment should be the servant of genuine human caring, never its master.
8. An elder-centered community honors its elders by de-emphasizing top-down bureaucratic authority, seeking instead to place the maximum possible decision-making authority into the hands of the Elders or into the hands of those closest to them.
9. Creating an elder-centered community is a never-ending process. Human growth must never be separated from human life.
10. Wise leadership is the lifeblood of any struggle against the three plagues. For it, there can be no substitute.
Spiritual Care for Elderly People at Residential Care

Spiritual Conditions
• Depression: Facing medical, social, quality of life challenges. The feel uninterested in activities, hopeless about the future, guilty about the past, and may desires death.
• Dementia: Dementia is a syndrome characterized by progressive, irreversible impairments in cognition and function.
• Low satisfaction with the living accommodation
• Loneliness and lack of social support
• Often feel useless and without dignity
• Struggling with “thoughts of dying”
• Lack of Family support
• Mental health problem. Delirium, confusion, lying etc
• The very low scope of life / Limited ambitions
• Lack of communication
• They lose their connections to the community of faith as their friends die or move away
• They need the companionship and encouragement of other believers if their faith is to be nourished and grow
(i) The need for the source of hope and strength (ii) the need for expression of personal beliefs and values (iii) the need for spiritual practice, expression of the concept of God or any higher power (iv) the need for meaning and purpose (v) the need for connection, peace and transcendence

• Research shows that a fulfillment of their spiritual needs can have a positive influence on their quality of life and life satisfaction.
Coping Strategies
• Music
• Reading religious or non-religious books
• Watching TV
• Good family support