Research has shown that spirituality plays a positive role in the ageing journey. For some, spirituality will be a part of their religious beliefs, but not for all. Spirituality allows the time and space to reflect on the bigger questions in life, searching for meaning, purpose, value and hope. It can also be used as a way of coping with change and uncertainty.
The role of spiritual care is gradually being recognised for its health benefits, the potential for improved well-being and sense of peace. For example, Marie Curie advocates spiritual care as an important part of palliative care. Though spiritual care is not confined to end of life care. As part of a national strategy in 2016, the charity ‘Meaningful Ageing Australia’ were instrumental in drawing up the Government funded National Guidelines for Spiritual Care in Aged Care.
The charity’s work highlights the importance of and provides practical support for integrating spiritual care into those services accessible to older people, both in care homes and in the community. Their aim is to support those caring for older people to enable them to have a better quality of life. As part of this they created the Meaningful Ageing course, designed to provide people with the skills and knowledge they need to undertake volunteer spiritual care. This can be used in different settings, such as churches, families and for those in residential care homes.
The Circuit staff explored this course together earlier this year, and found it helpful in drawing out some of the questions of how to support others as they age, and as we all age together.
The course follows a series of 8 sessions exploring the following topics through video, reading, reflection, and discussion:
· the ageing journey
· spirituality in ageing
· good communication
· the power of story telling
· a new home/a new way of life
· loss, grief, death and dying
· roles, boundaries and self-care
The Circuit would like to offer opportunities to be part of this course as churches and/or individuals. If you or your church would be interested in finding out more please contact me.