Gerontological chaplaincy

the spiritual needs of older people and staff who work with them


  • Harriet Mowat Lecturer and Researcher, Aberdeen



gerontology, chaplaincy, spiritual care, older people, healthcare staff


Two recently completed studies form the basis of this article. These studies focussed on those who work with older people and older people themselves in terms of their spiritual needs and the implications of this for healthcare chaplaincy. Using the concept of successful ageing the article suggests a link between spiritual support with successful ageing and considers empirical data from residents and staff in the light of this. Staff were able to identify spiritual practices that helped them achieve balance between the demands of work and their own needs. Both groups talked about the importance of relationships with colleagues, family and friends and between staff and patients or residents. The article suggests that healthcare chaplains have an opportunity to develop particular support interventions based on researched need, for both older people and staff who work with older people and raises the question of the case for gerontological chaplaincy.

Author Biography

Harriet Mowat, Lecturer and Researcher, Aberdeen

Harriet Mowat is a lecturer and researcher with particular interest in Spiritual Care, Chaplaincy and the care of older people. She is based in Aberdeen.


MACKINLAY E. (2006) ed Aging, Spirituality and Palliative Care Haworth Pastoral Press

MILNE A. (2003) Exploring the Worldview of the Therapeutic Communicator through Critical Ethnography June. Robert Gordon University. School of Nursing and Midwifery. CENPRAD Centre for Nursing Practice Research and Development

MOWAT H. (2007) The Spiritual Lives and Needs of Health Care Professionals: an exploratory study . Commissioned by Highland Health Board and available from the author.

WELSH H., WHITTICK J., MOWAT H. (2006) Resisting the Institution : a report on two studies: Abuse of older people in residential care: spiritual needs of older people in residential care Also available from



How to Cite

Mowat, H. (2013). Gerontological chaplaincy: the spiritual needs of older people and staff who work with them. Health and Social Care Chaplaincy, 10(1), 27–31.

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