Spiritual Well-being In The Elderly

ARTICLES | May 31, 2024

Older adults of 57 years of more already make up 19.2% of Thailand’s population. Worldwide the elderly population is set to grow from 12% in 2015 to 22% by 2050. How will their spiritual well-being meet the challenges of an uncertain and fast-changing world?
Spiritual well-being refers how we see ourselves the relate to values, ideas, beliefs, and ethical codes. The concept relates to the connections between body, mind, and spirit. Spiritual well-being is often overlooked. It’s a sensitive dimension of well-being and affects us in other dimensions, but it’s also abstract and hard to measure. Happiness and well-being criteria tend to focus on other measurable dimensions, such as physical health or finances.
The challenge for older adults in Thailand is not to be neglected or seen as a burden. Yet they’re expected to look after their families during the working day. They must teach and take care of children for their parents. They have to give guidance. The ongoing recession may soon force them back into the labor market. So the spiritual well-being of older adults matters as much as other dimensions for other ages.
Efforts to measure and enhance the spiritual health of older adults include the Spiritual Well-Being Inventory (SWBI), the Multiple Stimulus Types Ambiguity Tolerance Scale-II (MSTAT-II), and the Oxford Happiness Questionnaire (OHI).
These measures found that over 60% of older people's happiness was determined by their spiritual well-being and capacity to face uncertainty. Reports highlighted factors including life satisfaction, hope, concentration, self-compassion, perceived social support, and adaptation to chronic mental disorders.
A recent COVID study of older adults found that spiritual well-being and religious beliefs were important indicators of death anxiety. Cross-cultural research suggests that coping with problems through religious or spiritual beliefs contributes to older adults' holistic view of life and well-being.
Implications for the future:
- There is a need to design more holistic and specific measures of spiritual well-being to understand the value and development of spiritual wellness in the elderly and among all ages.
- Approaches to improve the well-being of the elderly need to be designed with the perspective of well-being and individualized definition of happiness.
- A business model of elderly wellness needs to focus more on the long-term dimension of uplifting and restoring spirituality.
- A Survey of Happiness among Thai People from “2021 Where is Happiness?” Project (IPPD, 2021) https://ippd.or.th/happiness-report/
- The roles of spiritual well-being and tolerance for uncertainty in predicting happiness in the elderly (2022) https://doi.org/10.6018/analesps.446871
- THE INFLUENCED FACTORS OF SPIRITUAL WELL-BEING: A SYSTEMATIC REVIEW (2022) https://doi.org/10.35719/sjigc.v2i1.23
- The Spiritual Well-Being Scale (SWBS): Cross-Cultural Assessment Across 5 Continents, 10 Languages, and 300 Studies (2020) https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-030-52140-0_17
- Association of Death Anxiety with Spiritual Well-Being and Religious Coping in Older Adults During the COVID-19 Pandemic (2021) https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10943-020-01129-x

Related Articles