Tom McCormick has worked for over 40 years in Nursing Homes, and is currently a chaplain at a Long Term Care Home and a Retirement Community in Richmond Hill, Ontario, and a retirement home, Oak Ridges, Ont. In the 1980’s he published a manual for training others: Nursing Home Ministry: A Manual. In 2003 he coauthored Nursing Home Ministries. Currently he lives near Toronto, Canada, teaches at Tyndale Seminary, and directs a program in ministries with and for the ageing with WSI.
Tom has also served as an overseas missionary in Peru, Papua New Guinea, and Cameroon, as well as India, and China (helping local churches with care of the elderly). He works cross-culturally in Toronto, teaching English and assisting with the adjustments of the immigrant population.
The work with the elderly and with those from other cultures is merging more and more as the demographics of the Western World indicate both a huge increase of the elderly population as well as the immigrant populations. In addition, globally every region of the world is aging, and yet very little is being done to respond specifically to spirituality and spiritual needs.
Tom McCormick has an MA in Bible from Westminster Seminary, Philadelphia, a PhD in Humanities from U of Texas, and a PhD in Philosophy from The Institute for Christian Studies, Toronto. He has taught part-time at Tyndale since 2000.
Ageing, Religion, and Resiliency
How integrated is “religion” or “the spiritual” with The Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing (MIPAA)? The MIPAA recognizes that the implementation of effective care for older persons requires the holistic integration of every aspect of individual, community, national and international life. The MIPAA (2002) acknowledges “the spiritual” along with the social, economic, political, cultural, and psychological, and well we must, especially given the high percentage of the global population for whom religion continues to play an important part in daily lives: a steady ≈ 84% (the median) of the global population, with 10 countries and areas registering the daily importance of religion as at least 98%. And yet attention to religion in the implementation of the MIPAA’s “Priority Directions” is at best “thin,” and at worst, almost completely missing. Is this a blind spot in our attention to global ageing? Perhaps; and if so, it would most definitely affect both policy and practice. Regardless of one’s own religious preferences, the demographics regarding religiosity and ageing undoubtedly recommend “Ageing and Religiosity” as sufficiently worthy of further discussion and exploration. Especially is this so since (i) resilience is regularly and positively correlated with religious orientation, and (ii) religiosity is highest in the world’s poorest nations and among the older age brackets (60+). Furthermore, the daily importance of religion is consistently more likely for women than men, with the role of women (of all ages) widely recognized as almost essential for sustainable community development, including recovery from disasters of various sorts (posttraumatic growth). What, then, are the demographic realities and how might religion/spirituality be better integrated into ageing care policy and praxis?