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What does it mean to grow old? What makes later life meaningful? What gives a frail and isolated or institutionalised older person their sense of wholeness and self?

This substantially updated new edition of Elizabeth MacKinlay’s seminal text presents the latest theory and research to explore these questions in depth, pointing the way towards new ways of thinking about and engaging with the spirituality of ageing. Encompassing the findings of a new research study on baby boomer spirituality, the book presents a wider and more comprehensive view of ageing and spirituality, concluding that spirituality for the baby boomer generation is every bit as important as for the cohorts before them, but also fundamentally different, with fewer being practicing members of a religious faith. Drawing on in-depth interviews with older people, and containing many new ideas whilst also addressing the foundational theories and questions essential to scholarship in this field, the book also includes a new and timely chapter on the spirituality of older people in our increasingly multicultural and multifaith societies.

This clear and practical text presents much-needed guidance for health and social care practitioners, chaplains, clergy and others seeking to identify and support the spiritual needs of older people, as well as students and researchers in related disciplines.


A timely appreciation of what for aging boomers informs and expresses life's meaning, purpose and spirituality is opened up here in new research by Dr E MacKinlay. Her observations and insights will assist those in all professions who work with boomers in their early and late aging, as well as offering thoughts on spirituality in aging for boomers themselves
Dr. Patricia Marsden-Dole, Seniors’ Advocate, Ottawa, Canada
Elizabeth Mackinlay brings an almost unique binocular approach to her subject, combining as she does her wisdom and vocation - both as a nurse and as an Anglican priest. As such, she is especially well-qualified to address the dimensions of spirituality and ageing. Mackinlay approaches the issues with a natural pastoral deftness, compassion and composure that will inspire and inform all who read her work. She is one of the leading writers in this field today, and as such, her books are an essential companion for all who work and study in this area.
The Dean, The Very Revd Prof. Martyn Percy, Christ Church, Oxford
Spiritual awareness sharpens as we age. The lively narratives of this research remind us that older people are resources in themselves, inviting us to connect on a deeper level. By immersing ourselves in the universal nature of human spirituality we can create connections and discover the core of caring.
Associate Professor Rosalie Hudson, Charles Sturt University, Australia