Living from the Heart: An Exploration of the Lived Meaning of Spirituality for Community-dwelling, Oldest Elders; An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis

  • Author / Creator
    Dauphinee, Cate
  • My love and admiration for my mother and other vibrant elders kindled my desire to learn about the lived spirituality of community-dwelling, “oldest-old” persons (aged 85 years and older). I embraced an opportunity to celebrate two elder friends, Paul and Mel, who agreed to join me in an exploration of their spirituality by generously sharing their beliefs and experiences and their habits of an ordinary day. Interpretative phenomenological analysis methodology was used to discover how they made sense of their spirituality and experienced its benefits. Data was gathered through semistructured interviews and follow-up conversations and through my reflections of our friendship. I presented the research results in a thematic narration. Spirituality was imaged as the heart of the person from which three primary, interwoven themes emerged: Strong Personal Identity, Identity of Belonging, and Meaningful Belonging, within an overarching leitmotif of Belonging of which love was the centre. Paul and Mel believed that they had lived and continued to live meaningful lives for which they felt grateful. Their Habits of an Ordinary Day were steeped in their deeply held values and relationships that informed and enlivened a Meaningful Belonging. This rich and satisfying experience of belonging gave them That Good Feeling. My research with Paul and Mel suggests that the spiritual well-being of elders is supported when they feel connected and can share their authentic self and gifts in genuine, loving, and caring community with others. This vital experience of connection and belonging is captured in the themes of this study.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2017
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Psychotherapy and Spirituality
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    St. Stephen's College
  • Degree level
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Lund, Kristine (Delton Glebe Counselling Centre)
    • Waters, Jean (St. Stephen's College)