Meaningful Ageing Australia June 2017 update
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From the CEO

The paradoxes of spiritual care

image of Ilsa Hampton, CEO

Some of you may have seen our two minute introductory video that talks about how easy spiritual care is. And yes, there is a simplicity, in some ways, in two humans having a supportive relationship. All you need to do is show up and communicate. So why doesn't it happen all the time? This is where we get in to the paradox of spiritual care. 

Over the next few newsletters I am going to share a few short reflections with you about my current list of spiritual care paradoxes. You may have others - feel free to send them in to me

So far I have five:
1. An expert who assumes they are there to learn
2. A professional who benefits from the relationship
3. Someone who gets 'jobs done' whilst putting relationships first
4. The person who brings hope by being present to despair
5. The one who is fully participating and saying the least

You might enjoy this story from Rabbi Bunim of P’shiskha (with thanks to Barbara Thiede) as you ponder your spiritual care paradoxes: You should always have two notes with you, he says. One in each pocket. One note says, "I am but dust and ashes". The other says, "The world was created for me." Sometimes, we should feel for the note in one pocket, at other times, the second note. The secret to life, he says, is knowing when to read which note.

In June I took some Meaningful Ageing supporters to meetings in Canberra so we could continue to raise the profile of spiritual care as integral to quality of life for older people. Pictured are CHA CEO Suzanne Greenwood, Annalisa Bowden General Manager, Roper Gulf Regional Council, myself and two Uniting residents, Rosemary Whitecross and Felicity Hargreaves (with Minister Ken Wyatt), following our discussion with the Minister and his team. We also spent time with Senator Griff's Chief of Staff (Nick Xenophon Team). We discussed the importance of meaning, purpose and connectedness for older people in this time of aged care reform, and the opportunity for a new approach to aged care workforce development. Rosemary and Felicity did a 30 second review of our meeting with the minister - you can watch it here if you missed it.

Finally, I want to acknowledge the round of painful stories that continue to emerge from aged care and retirement living contexts. It is always hard to hear about times when we have not done our very best, when we have compromised the humanity of ourselves and others, and when we have not been honorable. As we reflect on these situations, it is an opportunity for each of us to be totally honest with ourselves, our colleagues, and our managers. Are we working for the best interests of the older person? Are we honest about our mistakes? Do we respond with compassion, respect and truth? Can we be trusted with these people's lives? If the answer to all of these is yes, then pause to savour what you have. Celebrate the strength, commitment and humanity of your teams. If any of the answers are no, then take action today to turn the tide. It may take courage, but it is absolutely the right thing to do. As Maya Angelou says, you know what's right. Just do right.

Until next time,
- Ilsa Hampton
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In case you missed it - a five minute introduction to spiritual care by our
CEO Ilsa Hampton with Lauren Todorovic, Director at Aged Care Report Card
New research consultant joins Meaningful Ageing

We are pleased to announce another senior academic has joined us as an honorary research consultant. 

Dr Richard Egan

Richard lives in Dunedin, New Zealand. He is a senior lecturer in health promotion, based in the Cancer Society Social and Behavioural Research Unit, Department of Preventative & Social Medicine, Dunedin School of Medicine, University of Otago. His background includes five years working as a health promoter / professional advisor in a Public Health Unit and five years secondary school teaching. Read more here.

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Making it super-easy for you and your team to access our
high quality, practical resources

Members - access your free downloads and order free hard copies all in one place. Just login to the website using your usual Member's Zone user name and password.

Non-members - see what we are producing and order those resources that are available to the public

Just go to our website, and click on the main menu for resources

It's not too late!

Register now to join the 2pm AEST panel discussion on Wednesday this week with our CEO Ilsa Hampton, and be part of the launch of HTN's brand new spiritual care volunteer training course being supported by ACC and Meaningful Ageing Australia.
Survey - advance care planning
If you work in the community or residential aged care sector, you are invited to complete a survey exploring how advance care planning is implemented and discussed within your organisation.  The answers will assist our friends at NARI in developing an advance care planning implementation guide for Decision Assist.

The survey will take approximately 15 minutes to complete and is due by Friday 7 July 2017. To complete the survey please go to:

If you have any queries in relation to this survey or the project please contact Kerry Hwang at NARI on (03) 8387 2666 or

"Since implementing the Orientation to Spiritual Care Program, our staff are beginning to understand and value the spiritual work they do everyday - the little things; the connections and conversations." - Member survey
Reminder - ask your manager today for access to the Member's Zone

Education Update

Mildura 25 July 2017
Death, Dying and Hope
Two unique Meaningful Ageing events in one day
Facilitated by Senior Educator Jenika Graze
Hosted by Bupa Aged Care

An open conversation with families 
10.30-11.30am over morning tea
No charge

Front line staff and volunteers seminar 
$30 plus GST/booking fee members
$50 plus GST/booking fee non-members 

Register for Mildura here

Mon 28th August 2017
"I didn't choose this" Supporting the transition into care in an era of choice and control
Hosted by Southern Cross Care, Tas 
Lunch included
Facilitated by CEO Ilsa Hampton
$35 members (+GST/booking fee)
$55 non-members (+GST/booking fee)
Register for Hobart here

Visit our new Education page in our on-line store to see some of the great sessions on offer or contact us now about a tailored education package for your organisation

Welcome to our newest member 
Roper Gulf Regional Council

Our full list of current members is here.

Renewals are now due for 2017/18 - no fee increase is being applied to renewing members. Pay your renewal today, or contact us if you need assistance.


AACQA Better Practice Conferences: Rethinking Aged Care -
including a unique plenary session with
Meaningful Ageing CEO Ilsa Hampton & Playback Theatre
Adelaide 20-21 July
Sydney 17-18 August
Brisbane 21-22 September
Perth 12-13 October

Palliative Care Australia National Conference Adelaide 6-8 September 
View our 2 minute videos - click here
National Guidelines for Spiritual Care in Aged Care - click here
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A news service from Meaningful Ageing Australia.

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