Exploration of Spirituality and Spiritual Distress in Baby

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Exploration of Spirituality and Spiritual Distress in Baby Boomers Laurie Schuler, M. Div. ,

Exploration of Spirituality and Spiritual Distress in Baby Boomers Laurie Schuler, M. Div. , BCC Memorial Hermann Hospital Developed for the Baby Boomer Imperative Course

Funded By This project is funded by a grant from the Health Resources and

Funded By This project is funded by a grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the Department of Health and Human Services. The grant was initially funded in 2007 with renewed funding for five years beginning in 2010. (Grant #UB 4 HP 19058). 2

Objectives • Understand life context of Baby Boomer Generation • Define Religion and Spirituality

Objectives • Understand life context of Baby Boomer Generation • Define Religion and Spirituality • Explore Spiritual Suffering in Baby Boomers • Discuss spiritually sensitive healthcare 3

Who are the Baby Boomers? • Born between 1946 and 1964 • Age 50

Who are the Baby Boomers? • Born between 1946 and 1964 • Age 50 to 68 4

Across the lifespan 5

Across the lifespan 5

Across the Lifespan • Dawn: Optimistic, Counter-Cultural • Senior years: Gloomy 6

Across the Lifespan • Dawn: Optimistic, Counter-Cultural • Senior years: Gloomy 6

Why so glum? • Worried about personal finances keeping pace with inflation • Sandwich

Why so glum? • Worried about personal finances keeping pace with inflation • Sandwich Generation – aging parents and adult children • Fear of loss of function with aging 7

Boomers and Religion • Less religious than elders but… • 43% strong member of

Boomers and Religion • Less religious than elders but… • 43% strong member of religion • 13% no affiliation 8

Definition: Religion • “a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of

Definition: Religion • “a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs. ” • “a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects. ” 9

Definition: Spirituality "Spirituality is the aspect of humanity that refers to the way individuals

Definition: Spirituality "Spirituality is the aspect of humanity that refers to the way individuals seek and express meaning and purpose and the way they experience their connectedness to the moment, to self, to others, to nature, and to the significant or sacred. " 10

Healthy Spirituality • Healthy spirituality is characterized by rich and meaningful connections. 11

Healthy Spirituality • Healthy spirituality is characterized by rich and meaningful connections. 11

Meaningful Connections 12

Meaningful Connections 12

Spirituality & Religion Not everyone is religious. Everyone is spiritual. Some persons are both

Spirituality & Religion Not everyone is religious. Everyone is spiritual. Some persons are both spiritual and religious. As a generation Baby Boomers are more frequently spiritual-but-not-religious than previous generations. • Persons may have intentional and well-developed spirituality or a relatively undeveloped or unexamined spirituality. • The same can be said about religious beliefs and practices. • • 13

Root of Spiritual Need • Disconnection from self, others, meaning, purpose, peace, and/or the

Root of Spiritual Need • Disconnection from self, others, meaning, purpose, peace, and/or the transcendent are at the root of spiritual need. 14

Spiritual Suffering • • • Existential concerns Abandonment by God/Others Concerns about relationship with

Spiritual Suffering • • • Existential concerns Abandonment by God/Others Concerns about relationship with God Conflicted belief system Despair/Hopelessness Grief/Loss Guilt/Shame Forgiveness/Reconciliation Isolation 15

Spiritual Concerns of the Baby Boomers 16

Spiritual Concerns of the Baby Boomers 16

The Middle Years • Aged 50 – 65 • Erikson’s Developmental Stage of Generativity

The Middle Years • Aged 50 – 65 • Erikson’s Developmental Stage of Generativity versus Stagnation • Contributing to next generation versus self-absorption • Family: caring for adult children and aging parents • Career: at height of career, or dealing with loss of job • Health – onset of chronic illnesses 17

Health Crisis • Identity Crisis: Identity based on what they do for others in

Health Crisis • Identity Crisis: Identity based on what they do for others in family, work and community. • Existential Crisis: First time facing own mortality • Financial Crisis: Decreased income, increased medical bills 18

Case of Joann 19

Case of Joann 19

Case of Joann • Joann is 55 years of age. She is married and

Case of Joann • Joann is 55 years of age. She is married and has two children in college. She works as an attorney and is energized by her work. • Joann was recently diagnosed with breast cancer, has begun chemotherapy, and seems stricken as she begins to experience hair loss and other symptoms. 20

Potential Spiritual Issues: meaning, purpose, connections • Self: loss of feeling well and whole

Potential Spiritual Issues: meaning, purpose, connections • Self: loss of feeling well and whole and feminine • Family: unable to care for others as before; may need to be in position of receiving care • Work: loss of feeling productive, in control, on top of one’s game • God: Why me? Why suffering? Am I going to survive this? 21

How can I help? • Listen. Ask open ended questions. • Validate struggles •

How can I help? • Listen. Ask open ended questions. • Validate struggles • Evaluate resources; suggest others family friends professional counselor spiritual advisor • Assist in the search for meaning in suffering 22

The Later Years • Aged 65 and above • Erikson's Stage of Integrity vs.

The Later Years • Aged 65 and above • Erikson's Stage of Integrity vs. Despair • Family: independent, dependent upon children, geographically isolated • Retirement: identity crisis? • Finances 23

Health Crisis • Identity Crisis: loss of function (physical and cognitive); loss of sense

Health Crisis • Identity Crisis: loss of function (physical and cognitive); loss of sense of self • Existential Crisis: death concern; Dark Night of the Soul • Family Crisis: Needing to ask children/others help 24

The Case of Larry 25

The Case of Larry 25

Larry • Larry is 78 years old. He struggles with arthritis and high blood

Larry • Larry is 78 years old. He struggles with arthritis and high blood pressure. Recently he has become forgetful and this is very scary for him. He was recently widowed. His adult daughter and her family live in a distant state. 26

Potential Spiritual issues: meaning, purpose, connections • Self: fear of dementia, loss of control,

Potential Spiritual issues: meaning, purpose, connections • Self: fear of dementia, loss of control, loss of independence • Family: loneliness of widowhood; separation from family; loss of friends/familiar if relocate • Purpose: who am I without my career? • God: Faith crisis? Death concern 27

How Can I Help? • Listen. Ask open ended questions. • Validate sources of

How Can I Help? • Listen. Ask open ended questions. • Validate sources of suffering. • Evaluate Resources; suggest others family friends professional counselor spiritual advisor • Assist in the search for meaning 28

Special Concerns at End of Life 29

Special Concerns at End of Life 29

Case of Maria • Maria is a patient who has been battling with metastatic

Case of Maria • Maria is a patient who has been battling with metastatic cancer for some time. She is tired of chemo although there may be some further treatment options available to her. She explains to you that she has some “unfinished business” to take care of that is more important. 30

Potential Spiritual Issues: meaning, purpose, connections. • Self: acceptance of mortality vs. denial •

Potential Spiritual Issues: meaning, purpose, connections. • Self: acceptance of mortality vs. denial • Family: need for reconciliation; legacy tasks • God: desire for greater intimacy; focus on transcendence or broadening horizon 31

Special Spiritual Needs at End of Life • Life Review • 5 Tasks of

Special Spiritual Needs at End of Life • Life Review • 5 Tasks of Relationship Completion: I love you, I forgive you, Forgive me; Thank you, Goodbye • Gerotranscendence 32

Spiritually Sensitive Care • Embrace Your Mortality – “Day by day remind yourself that

Spiritually Sensitive Care • Embrace Your Mortality – “Day by day remind yourself that you are going to die. ” --Benedict of Nursia (6 th century) • • Journey with Patients & Families Listen Communicate Collaborate 33

Board Certified Chaplains: Spiritual Care Professionals • We provide spiritual and emotional support to

Board Certified Chaplains: Spiritual Care Professionals • We provide spiritual and emotional support to patients, families and other healthcare professionals. – Call us when you see spiritual or emotional distress beyond your expertise or availability. • Minimum Education & Training: – – – Accredited Bachelor’s degree Accredited Master’s degree (minimum 72 graduate hours) One year supervised clinical residency Endorsed by a recognized faith tradition Demonstrate 29 competencies (theoretical, personal, pastoral, and professional) • For more info. : www. professionalchaplains. org 34

References Baby Boomers: From the Age of Aquarius to the Age of Responsibility. (2005).

References Baby Boomers: From the Age of Aquarius to the Age of Responsibility. (2005). Retrieved from http: //www. pewsocialtrends. org Byock, I. (1997). Dying Well: Peace and Possibilities at the End of Life. New York: Berkley Publishing Group Callanan, M. and Kelley, P. (1992). Final Gifts: Understanding the Special Awareness, Needs, and Communications of the Dying. New York: Bantam Books Cassel, E. (1982). The Nature of Suffering and the Goals of Medicine. The New England Journal of Medicine, 306 (11), 639 -645. Cohn, D. and Taylor, P. (2010). Baby Boomers Approach 65 – Glumly. Retrieved from http: //www. pewsocialtrends. org Mac. Kinlay, E. (2014) Baby Boomers Ageing Well? Challenges in the Search for Meaning in Later Life. Journal of Religion, Spirituality and Aging, 26, 109 -121. Puchalski, C et al. (2009) Improving the Quality of Spiritual Care as a Dimension of Palliative Care: The Report of the Consensus Conference. Journal Of Palliative Medicine, 12 (10), 885 -904. 35

References Continued Religion. (n. d. ) Retrieved from http: //dictionary. reference. com. Rohr, R.

References Continued Religion. (n. d. ) Retrieved from http: //dictionary. reference. com. Rohr, R. (2011) Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Yount, W. R. (2009) Transcendence and Aging: The Secular Insights of Erikson and Maslow, Journal of Religion, Spirituality and Aging, 21, 73 -97. 36