Over breakfast in a cafe one weekend recently a couple sat at the table next to me. They asked the waitress to let them know when their regular place outside under the trees was free. When they had the opportunity to move, it required a bit of juggling around with my seat. By way of explanation, they said to me, "We live in an apartment, so opportunities to sit outside and get some fresh air are so important. And it's such a nice day." This kind of craving to be outside is in-built in many of us. Definitions of spirituality usually include mention the importance of connection with nature.
And yet, so many older people are prevented from accessing nature due to our collective lack of imagination.
The National Guidelines for Spiritual Care in Aged Care requires access to the outdoors or, if this is not possible, to bring nature inside (1.8 & 5.2). It would be easy to say the main barrier to connection with nature is the older person's limited mobility and in residential aged care, building design and staffing models. If we are a service provider working with older people, we have at our disposal the passion, intelligence and commitment of a workforce who intuitively know this is a major issue. Do we free them up to respond?
Below is an image from one of our members that shows what is possible on a large scale. If you are still not sure how important it is, perhaps spend a moment making a list of your own interactions with the outdoors. Next, make a list of opportunities for older people in your care to do the same and your action planning can begin.
Until next time,
- Ilsa Hampton
The rainforest garden provides a setting for interaction between residents, staff, and visitors. It features walkways, seating, and tree identification signs, providing a calm escape in the middle of town and on our site. The wheelchair accessible pathways run from the care facility gardens into the rainforest. BaptistCare Maranoa Centre in Alstonville
Announcing Research Consultants for Meaningful Ageing
Thinking bigger than your own fish bowl is important. In order to further develop the evidence base for our resource development and advocacy, we are formalising our relationships with senior Australian and international academics whose expertise is in spirituality and ageing. Links with research has always been important to us. Many of you will know that our organisation has had a long standing relationship with CAPS (Charles Sturt University). Professor Elizabeth MacKinlay, former Director of CAPS, was instrumental in the establishment of PASCOP (our original name).
This month, we are delighted to introduce you in brief to our four inaugural honorary research consultants.
Ann Harrington is Associate Professor in the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Flinders University. Her masters and PhD degrees were conducted with research into spirituality and her ongoing publications reflect this focus.
Bruce Rumbold holds postgraduate qualifications in physics, pastoral care and health social science, and has published in all three fields. Bruce is the spiritual care lead for La Trobe University’s Healthy Ageing Research Group and Director of La Trobe University's Palliative Care Unit.
Bruce Stevens is the Wicking Professor of Ageing and Practical Theology and director of Centre for Ageing and Pastoral Studies (CAPS).He has developed a research team at CSU whose work is focussed on the needs of older prisoners and Salvation Army Officers' quality of life.
John Swinton is Professor in Practical Theology and Pastoral Care at the University of Aberdeen. He also teaches cross-college courses in the schools of nursing and medicine. He has published extensively within the areas of practical theology, pastoral care, spirituality, mental health studies, disability theology and nursing.
Meaningful Ageing Australia gratefully acknowledges the support of these leading researchers.
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Feature Resource - connection with nature
This month, we are sharing with you some content from the National Guidelines Implementation Tools:
1.8 Care recipients are supported and encouraged to access outdoor areas. Those who cannot physically move outside are assisted to connect with the natural world
and 5.2 Older people have access to the natural environment through gardens, outings and/or bringing nature inside through flowers, plants, photos, sounds and fragrances
“Caring for nature had a significant association with improving the sense of restoration… Also, observing or caring for plants resulted in a significant quantitative impact on reducing the level of depression” (Kiyota, 2009).
Managers, staff and volunteers can offer much in the way of creating a culture within which older persons can connect with nature. Read more here
“I feel as though my life has meaning now, I am part of something much larger- nature, the grandness of being alive, it is exciting and I see it as a new beginning” (Orr 2016, p.257)
Make sure you have your login details handy - contact your manager if you are not set up to access our Downloadable Resources
We are releasing a suite of new resources this month. Thank you to those organisations and groups who have assisted us to equip the aged care sector with high quality care that is sensitive to the pastoral and spiritual needs of older people.
Keys to Spiritual Care – Context, Communication and Connectedness A Seminar for OT Assistants, Care Staff, Nurses, Allied Health and Pastoral Carers
Hosted by Juniper Rowethorpe, Bentley
9.00am-12.00pm, Fri 28th April 2017
$30 members +gst/booking fee
$50 non-members +gst/booking fee Register here
Hobart - save the date!
Meaningful Ageing Seminar for front line staff
Hosted by Southern Cross Care
11am-3.30pm, Mon 28th August 2017
Further details coming soon
Contact us now about a tailored education package for your organisation
Welcome to our newest members
We are pleased to welcome the following organisations who are showing their commitment to quality of life for older people by joining Meaningful Ageing Australia:
Catholic Homes for the Aged Port Macquarie Villa Maria Catholic Homes
They are part of a growing movement to ensure meaning, purpose and connectedness are part of all aged care.
Our Feb edition featured our member survey results Read the summary report in our Member's Zone