Susan McFadden - Malcolm Goldsmith Lecture


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Susan McFadden - Malcolm Goldsmith Lecture July 2013

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Susan McFadden - Malcolm Goldsmith Lecture

  1. 1. Maintaining the Fabric of the World: Spiritual Gifts of Persons with Dementia Susan H. McFadden, Ph.D. Fox Valley Memory Project Appleton, WI (USA)
  2. 2. Spiral aloe (photograph by Pei-Pei Ketron)
  3. 3. “They maintain the fabric of this world, and their daily work is their prayer.” Ecclesiasticus (Sirach) 38:34 Goldsmith, 2004, p. 173 Goldsmith, 2011, p. 166
  4. 4. Spiral aloe (photograph by Pei-Pei Ketron)
  5. 5. Themes • creation, embodiment, and spiritual care • creativity, imagination, and spiritual care • the spiritual gifts of creative dementia care
  6. 6. Creation, embodiment, and spiritual care Cross-section of a foram (single-celled ocean-dwelling organism) (photograph by Richard Howey)
  7. 7. “…confining what is essential about selfhood to the brain is to overlook how bodily sources of agency, grounded in the pre-reflective level of experience are fundamental to the constitution and manifestation of selfhood in Alzheimer’s disease” (Kontos, 2003, p. 555)
  8. 8. Spiral aloe (photograph by Pei-Pei Ketron)
  9. 9. “Human embodiedness is thus seen to be deeply spiritual in shape and function. Our bodies are the locus of God’s creative activity and the place where God meets and sustains us” (Swinton, 2012, pp. 169-170).
  10. 10. Creativity, imagination, and spiritual care The “Whirlpool galaxy” (NASA)
  11. 11. Art “may be defined as the practice of creating perceptible forms expressive of human feeling” (Langer, 1958, p. 2). Art “presents forms—sometimes intangible forms—to imagination….Imagination is probably the oldest mental trait that is typically human— older than discursive reason; it is probably the common source of dream, reason, religion, and all true general observation. It is this primitive human power—imagination—that engenders the arts and is in turn directly affected by their products” (Langer, 1958, p. 6).
  12. 12. Bob: You touch the very, the little strings in the centre of my heart. What do you think of that now? Maria: I touch the strings in the centre of your heart? Is that how you feel when you listen to music? Bob: Oh yes, oh yes I do, yes. It’s something you can’t explain. That’s the way it is. There’s something in you, like, I suppose mental as well as naturally, and I don’t know, you can’t explain it, that’s the way it is. (Killick, 2004, p. 147)
  13. 13. Spiral aloe (photograph by Pei-Pei Ketron)
  14. 14. The spiritual gifts of creative dementia care Cut-away of nautilus shell (photograph by Paul Licht)
  15. 15. “Perhaps this is one of the keys to creative dementia care, to be always on the lookout for gifts, for invariably, those who seek ultimately find” (Goldsmith, 2001, p. 150). “With a little time and imagination it is possible for us to reflect on what we might do for [people with dementia], but the bigger question is to reflect upon what we might learn from them and in what ways they might contribute to our common life” (Goldsmith, 2001, p. 136).
  16. 16. “The profound Christian hope is that as everything about our life diminishes and falls away, as it surely must for all of us, there remains a source of loving acceptance which takes the fragility of our nature and the multitude of compromises of our life and receives it home. Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty we are free at last – from everything which has diminished our body, but not necessarily our spirit” (Goldsmith, 2004, p. 40).