November 28, 2004

Four Spirited New Books

The Aging Spirit

Several books on spiritual aspects of aging recently arrived at Aging Today, each with a distinct approach for its audience of consumers, professionals or academic investigators. Here are four:

Vital Connections in Long-Term Care: Spiritual Resources for Staff and Residents by Julie Barton, Marita Grudzen and Ron Zielske (Baltimore: Health Professional Press, 2003; paperback, 223 pages) includes 14 chapters covering a range of concerns, such as honoring the individuality and diversity of both residents and staff, examining attitudes about intimacy and sexuality among residents, enhancing relationships with residents who have dementia and celebrating rituals that bring meaning to people's lives.

The Enduring Human Spirit: Thought-Provoking Stories on Caring for Our Elders by the Rev. Charles Tindell (Ravensdale, Wash.: Idyll Arbor Inc., 2003; paperback, 224 pages) has 11 sections, each set off with a proverb (for example, "Heroism consists in hanging on one minute longer."), each including stories of people the author has encountered in his ministry and a closing section of questions worth pondering and discussing.

Practical Theology for Aging, edited by the Rev. Derrel Watkins (Binghamton, N.Y.: Haworth Pastoral Press, 2003; paperback, 225 pages), served also as an issue of the Journal of Religious Gerontology. The 14 essays are presented in part as a tribute to Barbara Pittard Pay ne Stancil, the late director of the Gerontology Center at Georgia State University, Atlanta, who is honored for her "significant contribution to the field of religion and aging," Watkins writes. The book includes a reprint of her much-discussed 1989 essay, "Sex and the Elderly: No Laughing Matter in Religion." Watkins comments in his introduction, "She wanted church leaders and the public at large to understand that older persons are also sexual beings."

Religious Influences on Health and Well-Being in the Elderly, edited by K. Warner Schaie, Neal Krause and Alan Booth (New York City: Springer Publishing, 2004; hardback, 306 pages), includes seven chapters covering such issues as the quality of research on health and aging, empirical advances in the psychology of religion and coping, the role of forgiveness, and racial or ethnic considerations.

Copyright American Society on Aging Sep/Oct 2004