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Spiritual based care important for older people

Meaningful Ageing Australia has released a research-based guide focusing on helping aged care staff to incorporate spirituality into care for frail older people, to benefit the wellbeing of seniors with hobbies and passions.

The guide encourages aged care staff to listen, pause and collaborate in idea sessions with other staff and create trust between staff and older people. [Source: Meaningful Ageing Australia].
The guide encourages aged care staff to listen, pause and collaborate in idea sessions with other staff and create trust between staff and older people. [Source: Meaningful Ageing Australia].

The guide is intended to harness and maintain spiritual wellbeing, even when an older person’s physical and mental capabilities become more difficult.

Encouraging aged care staff to listen, pause and collaborate in idea sessions with other staff, the guide can be used to create trust between staff and older people that should be celebrated.

It can assist in creative thinking to develop solutions for varied challenges for elderly people like having a knitting group visiting a bedridden person who is feeling socially isolated.

Or helping an older person who loves to garden to still experience it with indoor plants or feeling soil in their fingers.

Chief Executive Officer of Meaningful Ageing Australia, Ilsa Hampton, says the guide emphasises shaping language around the older person’s perceived identity.  

“It’s important to focus on the abilities of older people despite any increasing frailty and chronic conditions and acknowledge them as people rather than the sum of their symptoms,” says Ms Hampton.

“The word frailty implies vulnerability and weakness. Our interviewees were proud of their remaining abilities and independence.”

Ms Hampton wants aged care providers to be encouraged to come up with ways to make the lives of older people more worthwhile, and to partner with older individuals to find something they can still do when their body finds it difficult.

Professor in Ageing and Pastoral Studies at Charles Sturt University and expert in holistic care, Dr. Elizabeth MacKinlay, says the guide easily explains the holistic care approach for older people who are losing their physical and mental abilities.

‘It contains much needed practical information and education tools for learning how to provide best care for people in this situation,” says Dr MacKinlay.

“It will be invaluable for training purposes and particularly, at this time, as it incorporates the new standards for quality aged care in Australia.”

The free guide is available on the Meaningful Ageing website and includes several scenarios centred around reflective listening by aged care staff and ongoing spiritual practices for connecting with older people. 

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