Title

Elders' Occupational Experiences, Spirituality, and Religion

Presenter Information

Christy Billock
Esther Huecker

Start Time

30-10-2004 8:30 AM

End Time

30-10-2004 10:00 AM

Abstract

Religion and spirituality find expression through daily occupations unique to each individual. For the elderly, numerous temporal, spatial, and social disruptions offer challenges for creating meaning in daily life. This paper presents findings from the first two years of an ongoing qualitative study conducted by faculty and graduate students in occupational therapy at Loma Linda University. The purpose of this research is to explore the experiences of spiritual and religious occupations for elders with and without disabilities. The first year of research focuses on well elders of a shared denomination while the second year looks at elders with disabilities from one faith tradition. Researchers collected data through in-depth interviews, participant observation, and journaling. This paper introduces preliminary themes and participant experiences from the initial two studies.

Although occupational science literature reflects the significance of meaning and spirituality to daily occupation, limited discussion exists on the relationship between the forms and experiences of spiritual occupations and religious occupations. An important part of this paper is to discuss the differences between spiritual occupations and religious occupations. Participants' experiences are presented to explore the complexity and diverse nature of these two distinct yet interrelated occupations. A brief literature review on the topics provides a foundation for discussion.

Three primary themes emerged across both studies and are presented in this paper. The themes which illuminate participants' experiences of religious and spiritual occupations include: 1) symbolism of ordinary objects, 2) recreating a sense of continuity over participant's lifespan, and 3) the importance of social worlds. This paper provides multiple perspectives on elders' experiences, thereby enriching the understanding of interconnectedness of daily occupational experience, spirituality, and religion.

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Oct 30th, 8:30 AM Oct 30th, 10:00 AM

Elders' Occupational Experiences, Spirituality, and Religion

Religion and spirituality find expression through daily occupations unique to each individual. For the elderly, numerous temporal, spatial, and social disruptions offer challenges for creating meaning in daily life. This paper presents findings from the first two years of an ongoing qualitative study conducted by faculty and graduate students in occupational therapy at Loma Linda University. The purpose of this research is to explore the experiences of spiritual and religious occupations for elders with and without disabilities. The first year of research focuses on well elders of a shared denomination while the second year looks at elders with disabilities from one faith tradition. Researchers collected data through in-depth interviews, participant observation, and journaling. This paper introduces preliminary themes and participant experiences from the initial two studies.

Although occupational science literature reflects the significance of meaning and spirituality to daily occupation, limited discussion exists on the relationship between the forms and experiences of spiritual occupations and religious occupations. An important part of this paper is to discuss the differences between spiritual occupations and religious occupations. Participants' experiences are presented to explore the complexity and diverse nature of these two distinct yet interrelated occupations. A brief literature review on the topics provides a foundation for discussion.

Three primary themes emerged across both studies and are presented in this paper. The themes which illuminate participants' experiences of religious and spiritual occupations include: 1) symbolism of ordinary objects, 2) recreating a sense of continuity over participant's lifespan, and 3) the importance of social worlds. This paper provides multiple perspectives on elders' experiences, thereby enriching the understanding of interconnectedness of daily occupational experience, spirituality, and religion.