ABSTRACT

Spiritual and religious resources are domains of support that may be especially meaningful to some of the current cohort of elders age 65 and above. A recent Gallup poll confirmed that 58% assessed religion as very important while 68% hold membership in a religious organization (PRCC, 2001). If older adults value religion both from an institutional and a personal perspective, then it is important for social workers to develop assessment tools for measuring the extent and the means by which religion and spirituality are engaged. In clinical intervention with older adults, religion and spirituality may not be mentioned unless the social work practitioner initiates the conversation. Some older adults, already feeling stigmatized by their use of therapy, believe that this is not a permissible part of their lives to discuss with a social work practitioner. An instrument customized to evaluate behavior encourages such conversations and offers a standard of measurement beyond the global question about the importance of religion and/or spirituality in the lives of older adults. Such a proposed measure is a first step in moving from measuring belief to identifying actions taken.