Date of Award
Doctor of Ministry (DMin)
The defining question of this thesis is: "What are the spiritual needs of the elderly and how can we best address them pastorally?" The writer has restricted his area of study to addressing the pastoral needs of the elderly from a Reformed perspective. This was done. first of all. because very little resource material is available in that area. In the second place. in his research to date the author came to the preliminary conclusion that pastoral care functions best when it is "religion specific". His governing hypothesis in writing the thesis is that pastoral care to the elderly needs a clearer focus. greater exposure. and more diligent attention. In a holistic approach to the needs of the elderly there has to be a spiritual care dimension. The author took as his starting point that the Bible provides positive directives for this kind of spiritual care to the elderly. At the same time he worked with the conviction that. if his assumption is correct that in Reformed circles pastoral care to the elderly needs a clearer focus. the likelihood exists that the same applies to other denominations. This study provides a clear biblical focus from which other Christians can benefit in their ministry to the elderly. The first part of this study lays a biblical basis for pastoral care of the elderly in the church community. The second part contains a few excursions. one of which deals with the matter of pastoral care to the cognitively impaired elderly. In the third section the reader finds the results of a Needs Assessment Questionnaire in which both the elderly and the pastoral caregivers indicate what they perceive to be the pastoral needs of the elderly. The ultimate goal of this work is to stress that pastoral care to the elderly is an essential part of ministry. In order for the elderly to receive holistic care, the church needs to provide the component of spiritual care. Ministry to the elderly is as important as ministering to youth, and it is imperative that especially in the church community the elderly receive the God-given dignity and respect they deserve. iii
Nederveen, Gijsbertus, "Life Under the Umbrella of Promise: Addressing Pastoral Needs of the Elderly from a Reformed Perspective" (2001). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 6835.
McMaster University Library