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Challenges in Aging: Managing Loss, Complaining, and Spirituality

Donald R. Koepke, MDiv

CE Credit: 3 Hours

Target Audience: Psychology CE | Counseling CE | Social Work CE | Occupational Therapy CEUs | Marriage & Family Therapy CE | Nutrition & Dietetics CE

Learning Level: Intermediate

Course Type: Online

Course Abstract


Aging brings with it questions of meaning elicited by loss. This course explores three areas common to geriatric patients: complaining as a window to a patient’s needs, loss as an opportunity to explore issues of meaning, and spirituality in aging. This “suite” of three topics provides a thoughtful and caring perspective that encompasses the biological, social, and psychological aspects of aging and loss in long-term care. Multiple case illustrations and suggested techniques contribute to a “how-to” learning experience that will increase the insight and effectiveness of caregivers. 

Course #30-14 | 2004 | 37 pages | 20 posttest questions 

Learning Objectives

1.Define caregiving from a perspective of managing physical or cognitive loss
2.Analyze patient or client limitations from a cultural and spiritual standpoint
3.Identify approaches for coping with and integrating loss
4.List steps a caregiver may use to assist an individual in managing loss
5.Name methods of discerning the meaning behind a complaint
6.Describe five spiritual insights that can ground a complaining person
7.List methods of spiritual caregiving for complaining persons
8.Describe the issues related to spirituality and aging in the long-term-care setting
9.Differentiate between spirituality and religion
10.List ways to provide spiritual care without a chaplain

Professional Development Resources is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor continuing education for psychologists; by the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC) to offer home study continuing education for NCCs (#5590); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB #1046, ACE Program); the California Board of Behavioral Sciences (#PCE1625); the Florida Boards of Clinical Social Work, Marriage & Family Therapy, and Mental Health Counseling (#BAP346) and Psychology & School Psychology (#50-1635); the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board (#RCST100501); the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs (#193); and the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists (#114) and State Board of Social Worker Examiners (#5678).


Disclosure: No commercial support was received for this CE activity.

About the Author(s)

Donald R. Koepke, MDiv, is currently Director of the CLH Center for Spirituality and Aging established and funded by California Lutheran Homes, Anaheim, California.  Rev. Koepke earned his Master of Divinity from Lutheran School of Technology at Chicago in 1967 and completed his residency in clinical pastoral care at the UCLA Medical Center in 1995.  He also earned his certificate at the Geriatric Pastoral Care Institute at the Center for Aging, Religion and Spirituality in Minneapolis, Minnesota. 


Rev. Koepke is a member of the American Society on Aging, Forum on Spirituality and Religion, ASA, serving on its governing council; the National Council on the Aging, National Interfaith Coalition on Aging, serving as secretary to its delegate council; and a board-certified member of the Association of Professional Chaplains.  Since 1995 he has been endorsed by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America for specialized ministry and has conducted numerous professional workshops for service providers, caregivers, families, and older adults specializing in spirituality and aging.  He is a board member of the Council on Aging of Orange County and the South Bay Retirement Residence in Compton, California.  He is also an Advisory Council member, Department of Gerontology, at the University of La Verne, California.   His book, Ministering to Older Adults:  The Building Blocks is published through Haworth Press; http://www.haworthpress.com

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