Concept of time

Time seemed to be an important aspect that influences the well-being of the elderly in the study. Time consciousness cannot be ignored when one considers the subjective experience of well-being among the institutionalized aged. The finding showed that many of them had a keen awareness of time or awareness of the present. According to their administrators, a few of them felt the urgency to make the best use of the remaining time in their life: to get closer to God and to prepare for a ‘good death.

’ The studies done by Butler & Lewis (1972); Butler et 292 al. (1998); Sue & Sue (1999); and Knight (1996) found that there is an obvious concern with time when it is clear that the remaining days are running short among the aged. The development of a sense of immediacy, of the here-and-now, of present-ness -all these aid in the evolution of a sense of enjoyment and tranquility which ultimately are decisive elements of well-being.

The findings of the study exemplified this awareness of time/time consciousness among the institutionalized aged and that it has endowed them with a sense of urgency and purpose in the ‘evening’ of their lives.

It could also be presumed that these two aspects of well-being, the concept time and attitude toward death are closely related. Attitude towards Death The elderly in Gladys Spellman viewed the existential problem of death and dying in different spirit.

While some of them had a positive attitude toward death and looked at death as a natural transition from this life to a better life and have reconciled with this inevitable reality.

Trust in God’s compassion and mercy and the expectation of heavenly reward, growing closer to God in prayer seemed to help those elderly who said they were at ease with the thought of death. Faith and spirituality change death from an ending to a new beginning of a new existence for Christians (Moberg, 2001).

Accepting old age and death meaningfully makes life happier. Fear or acceptance of death is closely related to general satisfaction or well-being. When life is lived to the full, death becomes a fulfillment, a completion (Moberg, 2001). The following words of the elderly were shared with one of the administrators. “I’ve done my job. My mission is over. I have no worries about the future…He will take care…and I’m ready for final surrender/exit. ” There were others who tried to put on a brave front to show that they were not afraid to die.

A third category avoided talking about death, reasoning that it was not yet time for them to think about death as they felt there was plenty time left for such things. Those who avoided thinking about death and those who did not fear death but only feared ‘pain of death’ must be coping with the unrecognized fear of death. As Atchley (1997) puts it, although death is generally accepted with little fear among older people, it is only reasonable to assume that there are some who really fear death. Their trust in God’s mercy and hope in eternal reward probably help them cope with this fear.