Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Program Name/Specialization

Spiritual Care and Counselling


Martin Luther University College

First Advisor

Kristine Lund

Advisor Role




In this narrative inquiry, first-wave baby boomers (six males and six females born between 1946 and 1955) reflected on their lives and envisioned living into old age. While literature has focused on trends in baby boomer spirituality, issues of aging, and spiritual needs and tasks among elders, this study listened for “spiritual resources.” Initially defined broadly as that which has sustained a person throughout their life and will sustain them in the future, spiritual resources came to be understood as those things, both internal and external, that address deep human need for such spiritual values as love, hope, peace, and joy. Through open-ended interviews, participants’ reflections revealed the spiritual resources they have accessed and built up throughout life, and induced wonderings about future resources. One important finding was that first-wave boomers appreciate conversation about spiritual resources, as they grow older. Having been raised in the church, participants in this study reflected on the evolution of their traditional spiritual resources, including scripture reading, prayer, music and spiritual leadership, as well as their openness to explore, learn and embrace diversity in spirituality. For many, faith, rooted in both belief and experience, is a sustaining resource. The themes of “Self,” “Someone,” and “Space” frame these boomers’ further reflections on what has sustained and will sustain them. Both participants and the researcher suggest adaptive considerations for spiritual care in long-term care. The findings of this study help define what is meant by “spiritual resources,” encourage further conversation among baby boomers, and inform spiritual care.

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