Spirituality, Religiosity, and Aesthetics

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  • 0:02 Late Adulthood
  • 0:40 Religion,…
  • 2:13 Impact on Late Life
  • 4:11 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Natalie Boyd

Natalie is a teacher and holds an MA in English Education and is in progress on her PhD in psychology.

As people age, they have a lot to deal with. This is part of the reason that spirituality and religion are so important to older adults. In this lesson, we'll examine what spirituality, religion and aesthetics can offer aging adults.

Late Adulthood

Darlene is a recent widow in her 70s. She misses her husband and wonders how much time she has left. She's also wondering what all the years she's lived so far amount to and how she can make sure that her remaining time is used well.

Darlene is in late adulthood, or the time of life after age 65. During that time, many people find that, like Darlene, they wonder about their life and what lies in store for them. Let's take a look at religion, spirituality and aesthetics in late adulthood, and the impact they have on late life.

Religion, Spirituality, Aesthetics

Darlene is wondering about the meaning of life and what happens after death. Is her husband in heaven? Or is he just a body in the ground? She's also wondering how to make sure that her remaining time on Earth is used well.

Darlene is seeking, and her search involves spirituality, which is the search for the sacred. Whether Darlene believes that divinity is God or Allah or just that it is all around us and that there's no great being looking down on us, her spirituality is just about the search.

But that's not all that Darlene believes. She's a member of her local church, which means that (in addition to spirituality) she is participating in a religion, which is the practical application of spirituality. Religion can offer structure, community and tradition to spirituality.

Darlene, for example, finds that one of the things she loves about her church is that it offers her a supportive community. She finds comfort in the routine of the Sunday morning service and enjoys participating in activities that allow her to socialize with other members.

Religion and spirituality are a big part of Darlene's life. But so are aesthetics, which is spirituality rooted in nature. Aesthetics can be present with or without religion, but it always involves spirituality. A good example of aesthetics is the way that Darlene can see God in the beauty of a sunset or in the frost on the ground on a cold winter morning.

Impact on Late Life

So, spirituality, religion and aesthetics are all part of Darlene's day-to-day life. But what does that actually mean for her? What impact do spiritual traditions have on late life?

For one thing, Darlene is likely to be healthier and happier. Numerous studies have demonstrated the power of prayer and meditation on health and wellness. Benefits of those include lower blood pressure, sharper thinking skills and lower rates of depression compared with people who do not pray or meditate.

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