Article

Living with Elder Wisdom

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Abstract

This study is based on interview research with over a hundred creative elders. Their spirituality is explored through their life experiences as re-interpreted in later years. Spirituality is often expressed in non-religious language. They speak of inner empowerments: cultivating self-esteem, harvesting memories, transformative turning points, life-long learning, themes of humor and gratitude, and encountering mortality. They also explore outward empowerments: developing new purposes, welcoming possibilities, fostering more freedom, cultivating family and friends, forming intentional communities, and taking on larger social causes re peace, justice and ecology. This elder spirituality manifests important changes in their earlier views of religion.

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... It remains so until one can no longer process information, including experiences from social interaction. As Bianchi (2005) states, "creative elders are able to move beyond negative cultural stereotypes of being old by cultivating their inner resources. There is no one way of tapping into the talents and skills developed over a lifetime, qualities that have become part of one's core personality" (p. ...
... Humor can help to relieve the nagging pain or discomfort through blaming the incident rather than oneself as humor mitigates the negativity. Bianchi (2005) points out: "Laughter is one of the most distinctive human traits; it can be an act of faith in the face of death and of the tragic events that surround a long life. Humor can protect us from becoming stuck in resentments, and thus opens us to living with gratitude" (p. ...
... As aging continues humor can play a role in alleviating death anxiety (Richman, 2007). Bianchi (2005) addresses the intertwining of spirituality and mortality and how, ". . . in elderhood this takes on special ramifications because of particular losses and the proximity of death" (p. 324). ...
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Humor has been shown to assist in the process of aging, particularly in improving health, reducing stress, and improving psychological well-being. This article addresses the tasks of aging, or what Erickson (1963) terms, “the end stage of life,” through the lens of humor. These issues include: identity, self-esteem, heritage and culture, mortality, loss, and self-worth.
... The rationale for the inclusion of spirituality in education centres on the fact that social work is guided by a holistic, eco-systems perspective and social work as a profession is committed to respecting the diversity of people (Bhagwan, 2002). Literature on spirituality reflects its salience to a broad range of areas with which social work intersects viz. the elderly (Bianchi, 2005;Ewing, 2005); faith-based services (Cnaan, Boddie & Kang, 2005b); vulnerable children and youths (Bhagwan, 2009;Kvarfordt & Sheridan, 2007); substance abuse and incarceration (Moxley & Washington, 2001;Redman, 2008); and HIV/AIDS and family problems (Bhagwan, 2002). ...
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Although social work recognises spirituality as being integral to the holistic paradigm, it has remained disconnected from social work education in South Africa. This paper presents data from a survey with final-year social work students (N=342) with regard to their views on the content areas for a course on spirituality and social work. These content areas have been elaborated upon and transformed into broad guidelines which depict specific content for spirituality in education. This article is descriptive and the framework that has evolved includes, where appropriate, the exit-level outcomes (BSW programme) where spirituality content may be infused.
... Recent literature on generativity discusses the importance of participating in social causes that advocate for peace, justice, and care of the environment for their well-being (Sorrell, 2011). Bianchi (2005) noted that having social purposes and goals was associated to well-being. Empirical evidence by Efklides et al. (2003) found a strong link (0.34) between generativity and life satisfaction in a Greek elderly sample. ...
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Satisfaction with life is of particular interest in the study of old age well-being because it has arisen as an important component of old age. A considerable amount of research has been done to explain life satisfaction in the elderly, and there is growing empirical evidence on best predictors of life satisfaction. This research evaluates the predictive power of some aging process variables, on Angolan elderly people's life satisfaction, while including perceived health into the model. Data for this research come from a cross-sectional survey of elderly people living in the capital of Angola, Luanda. A total of 1003 Angolan elderly were surveyed on socio-demographic information, perceived health, active engagement, generativity, and life satisfaction. A Multiple Indicators Multiple Causes model was built to test variables' predictive power on life satisfaction. The estimated theoretical model fitted the data well. The main predictors were those related to active engagement with others. Perceived health also had a significant and positive effect on life satisfaction. Several processes together may predict life satisfaction in the elderly population of Angola, and the variance accounted for it is large enough to be considered relevant. The key factor associated to life satisfaction seems to be active engagement with others.
... Rippentrop (2005) fez uma revisão da literatura neste domínio, concluindo que nenhum autor analisado definia ou distinguia estes construtos. Todavia a espiritualidade, particularmente entre os idosos, é frequentemente expressa em termos não-religiosos, falando-se de um 'poder' interior que leva a cultivar a auto-estima, a gratidão, a tentar superar a imortalidade, a cultivar mais a liberdade e as amizades, a formar comunidades, a lutar pela justiça, pela paz e pela ecologia (Bianchi, 2005). ...
... A Educação pode e deve ajudar a tornarmo-nos mais humanos (Savater, 1997 está associada ao adiantado estado de desenvolvimento da personalidade (Kunzmann & Baltes, 2003;Maxwell, 2007); remete para disposições de acolhimento e relacionamento com a transcendência (Bianchi, 2005 Atendendo a que a inteligência pós-formal está associada com os tipos excelentes de deliberação e resolução de problemas, tal facto acaba por promover o crescimento nos outros indivíduos. As pessoas que usam este tipo de inteligência estão particularmente atentas à perspetiva dos outros, assim como criam facilmente uma plataforma segura na qual os outros podem explorar os seus próprios valores, pensamentos, ações e decisões (Webster, 2019). ...
... Ardelt (2003) recommends that wisdom be examined with other attributes. Interviews with over one hundred creative elders (Bianchi, 2005) found them building wisdom by harvesting memories, welcoming possibilities, and engaging in lifelong learning. Another study consisted of in-depth interviews with 18 older adults nominated as wise and living on low to moderate incomes (Choi & Landeros, 2011). ...
Thesis
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by Southam, Theresa, Ph.D., Fielding Graduate University, 2020, 307; 27739045 Abstract (Summary) 27,000 Sunrises: Everyday Contributions of Grateful and Giving Age 70+ Adults by THERESA SOUTHAM Although the increasingly older population has been described as a burden (Doron, 2013; Rozanova, 2010), older adults who are willing to take up the hard work of elderhood have important gifts to contribute (Conley, 2018; Jenkinson, 2018b; Pevny, 2014; Schachter-Shalomi & Miller, 2014). Older adults’ contributions have been studied predominantly as tangible services, missing important, less tangible services that were found to contribute to the sustainable nature of communities. This critical ethnographic study reveals the meanings age 70+ older adults make with others in their everyday lives. Of the main participants, seven were male and two female; one was indigenous (n=9). The other people that older adults interacted with and who were included in this study (n=16) were family, friends, workshop participants, and work colleagues. The researcher conducted “go-alongs” in order to observe and document everyday life. Main participants completed life maps, LifeForward Plans and a questionnaire, including measures of wisdom, generativity, and transcendence. Two meanings—Create and Share Other Realities and Value the Connection between People and Place— and three meaning-making processes—Turn Grief to Gratitude to Giving, Continue to Grow, and Shape Future through Ordinary Acts of Kindness— were examined for their contributions to more sustainable and compassionate communities. One example of the meaning Create and Share Other Realities is exemplified in the supplementary video to this dissertation Chris opening up worlds that didn’t exist (Southam, 2019). A new model was created where grief and gratitude drive generativity, rather than cultural demand (McAdams, Hart, & Maruna, 1998). A fifth dimension of self-actualization was added to the Foray (4A) model of lifelong learning (Corley, 2011) resulting in a new model Foray (4A+) – Beyond Self. Future research on the developmental tasks of older adults and on communication approaches that lead to sustainability are needed. Renewed calls for elderhood could strengthen the social, environmental, and economic well-being of our communities. Keywords: elder, elderhood, meaning, meaning-making, older adults, community, sustainability, wisdom, generativity, transcendence, developmental tasks of older adults, ageism, denial of death, conscious aging, successful aging, critical applied ethnography, go-along, life map, communication Supplemental files can be found at https://pqdtopen.proquest.com/doc/2377687834.html?FMT=ABS
... -Andy Rooney Academic Perspectives The first principle of relation is reexamination of and reconnection with our elders. Numerous studies exist, mostly within indigenous science and scholarship, demonstrating the importance of capturing the wisdom of our elders (Berrin 1999;E. Bianchi 2005;Christensen and Poupart 2012;Turner et al. 2000). Scholars suggest such wisdom is being lost and that we must reconsider how elders are treated and respected. Our elders can also be guiding lights for our children and, while we don't delve into the importance of children in our principles, we feel the generation and preservation of elder ...
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