Spirituality and Older Adults: Ethical Guidelines to Enhance Service Provision

David R. Hodge, Robin P. Bonifas, Rita Jing-Ann Chou


Spirituality plays an important role in the lives of many older adults. Consequently, it is not surprising that gerontological social workers frequently engage spirituality in practice settings. The paucity of training gerontological workers have received on this topic, however, is a cause for concern. To help equip workers, three ethical principles are proposed to guide interactions in the area of spirituality. These principles can be summarized as: 1) client autonomy, 2) spiritual competence, and 3) professional competence. The application of these principles in practice settings will enhance the ability of gerontological social workers to interact with older adults’ spirituality in a professional and ethical manner.


Spirituality, religion, strengths, ethical practice, older adults

Full Text:


Copyright (c) 2010 David R. Hodge, Robin P. Bonifas, Rita Jing-Ann Chou


Indiana University School of Social Work
902 West New York Street
Indianapolis, Indiana, USA, 46202
Voice: 317.274.6705
FAX: 317.274.8630
TDD/TTY: 317.278-2050