Aging and Spirituality

Over our life spans, we experience a sequence of psychosocial developments, including relational, vocational and aspirational challenges. We encounter an intensifying series of care needs and support agencies as we grow older, and a distinct set of philosophical and spiritual questions emerges for us, including the meaning and purpose of human life in general and of our own lives in particular. How can we best understand and address all these challenges?

We’ll explore the process of aging from several perspectives, using the theories of Jung, Tornstam, Erikson and Maslow; research on health care and aging; and literature on life review and spiritual reflection. We will aim for deepened self-awareness and integrity, more astute social perception, inspiration for creative planning and healthier activity, and progress toward personal wisdom.

A $60 discount will be applied automatically for adults 55+.

Currently not available for registration.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course, you should be able to:

  • Outline the theories of Erikson, Jung, Maslow, and Tornstam relating to aging and spirituality
  • Discuss how these theories might apply to your own experience
  • Discuss what goals such as self-awareness, integrity, and wisdom mean for you
  • Undertake life review and spiritual reflection with more confidence and insight

Learning methods

You will learn through lecture with time for questions and answers (may vary from class to class). For Liberal Arts Certificate for 55+ students: you will write a reflective essay.


Week 1: Introduction to the life review process

Week 2: Applying the theories of Jung and Tornstam to our lifespans

Week 3: Applying the theories of Erikson and Maslow to our lifespans

Week 4: Orienting ourselves spiritually to the long-term care continuum  

Week 5: Selecting relevant guidance on aging from the wisdom traditions

Week 6: Discerning the lessons and blessings of our golden years

Books, materials and resources

Reading material (if applicable) will be available in class. Some course materials may be available online.

Academic integrity and student conduct

You are expected to comply with Simon Fraser University’s Academic Integrity and Student Conduct Policies. Please click here for more details. Simon Fraser University is committed to creating a scholarly community characterized by honesty, civility, diversity, free inquiry, mutual respect, individual safety, and freedom from harassment and discrimination.

If you're 55+, you may take this course as part of

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