Equipping tertiary student volunteers to care pastorally for the elderly
The focus of this study is on the spiritual and emotional well-being of the elderly who are not properly attended to at specific care facilities and how the training/equipping of tertiary student volunteers (from the North-West University’s Potchefstroom’s campus) can improve this situation. The study approaches this matter from a pastoral position and provides suggestions on how tertiary students may be better equipped as volunteers to care pastorally for the elderly. The study was done by using Osmer’s methodology, which includes four tasks: • The descriptive-empirical task: “What is going on?” • The interpretive task: “Why is it going on?” • The normative task: “What ought to be going on?” • The pragmatic task: “How might we respond?” An inductive qualitative approach was used for the completion of the descriptive-empirical task. The researcher sought to understand and identify the elderly’s needs in order to find out if the tertiary student volunteers are adequately prepared to care for the elderly. The researcher used the interpretive task in order to investigate the relevance between the empirical results and literature from other disciplines. The results of the empirical study were interpreted in the light of a literature study of relevant material in Social Work, Psychology, and Health Sciences by using the themes and subthemes identified in the descriptive-empirical task. The normative task was done by using applicable passages from the Old Testament (inter alia Ge 15:15; Ex 20:20; Dt 5:33; Job 5:26; Job 12:12 and Pr 16:3) and New Testament (1 Tim 5:1-5) to gain normative insights into the needs and concerns of the elderly. By doing a grammatical and historical exegetical study on applicable passages in the Old Testament and the New Testament, the researcher found biblical principles regarding the elderly as well as what the Bible says about one’s attitude towards the elderly. Lastly, the pragmatic task was used in order to propose guidelines to equip tertiary student volunteers to care pastorally for the elderly. The proposed guidelines are divided into two categories, namely: training, and programs and activities. Overall, this study has shown how tertiary student volunteers can be better prepared for their task of caring pastorally for the elderly. Therefore, the aim of this study was reached and the central theoretical argument was proven
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