Spirituality and wellbeing of older New Zealanders

The challenge for a society that appears to see itself as largely secular is to work out how it can encourage exploration of spiritual well-being in a manner that encourages debate and supports people to acknowledge the importance of a spiritual dimension to life without the discussion being limited to a focus on religion or being diverted by dogmatic positions.

The participants in this research were enthusiastic about discussing the words ‘spiritual or spirituality.’ This enthusiasm led the researchers to the conclusion that the words should not be treated as ‘taboo’ in society generally, and there should not be a fear of using the words in social policy and practices of government, within community organisations, the media, schools and organised religion.  Most of the 40 older adults interviewed and the 10 older adults who also took part in a focus group, welcomed and really enjoyed having a chance to discuss spirituality and what the concept meant to them.

The final report is available at http://www.bishopsactionfoundation.org.nz/uploads/file/Spirituality%20research%20Report%20-%20FINAL%20colour%20secureJuly2009.pdf

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