Death anxiety among older adults

ESSENCE - Ligaya Rabago-Visaya (The Freeman) - February 20, 2021 - 12:00am

Death is a subject that, although I try to avoid talking about it, as it is part of the present reality, tends to recur with what's going on. Death is inevitable. During this pandemic, its inevitability has increased the fear even higher, and so with our level of anxiety and much more so for a particular group of people, older adults.

In older adults, the COVID-19 pandemic has intensified feelings of death anxiety, while death anxiety is widespread in older adults, leading to disastrous effects for older adults' body functions in general and their immunity in particular. These effects can lead to major increases in morbidity and mortality rates among older adults.

With social distance being one of the successful ways to restrict the spread of COVID-19, religious activities have been suspended in mosques and churches, thus affecting the religious coping and spiritual well-being of older adults significantly and adversely, and their levels of death anxiety are projected to increase.

In order to reduce the death anxiety of older adults and its associated COVID-19 morbidity and mortality, a better understanding of the interaction between religious coping, spiritual well-being and death anxiety would help those in the field of health governance understand how the religious coping and spiritual well-being of older adults could be improved under such exceptional circumstances.

To manage distressing and stressful situations, such as praying, religious coping behaviors are usually carried out. Many studies have verified the efficacy of such religious coping behaviors in helping people handle their feelings of depression and anxiety, as they allow people to cope with guilt, surrender fully to God's will, perceive suffering in a positive light, and control the suffering in a positive light.

It has been found that religious coping is a buffer against death anxiety and can act as a mechanism that interrupts the cycle of the negative effects of death anxiety. Religious coping increases hope and happiness, which in turn avoids the anxiety of death.

During a traumatic and life-threatening situation, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to acknowledge the spiritual well-being of older adults. Spirituality's definition varies and is not confined to religious traditions. Spirituality is defined as the dynamic and intrinsic aspect of humanity through which individuals seek meaning and purpose as well as relationships with themselves, family, others, and community.

Within both religious and secular individuals, spirituality exists and encourages a meaningful sense of inner harmony and healing. For the optimum management of death anxiety, spiritual well-being, the perfect growth of spiritual skill is important. Improved spirituality can reduce fear of death even in adverse circumstances, encourage people to overcome difficulties, and enhance the satisfaction of people with their life.

After all, accepting our current life is the bottom line, even though it's not as good as the one we had before. We're ready for that fight. We can't do anything but scream for what we've lost, or we can recognize that and try to pull back something that's good.

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