• Average male life expectancy: 87 – 97 years
• Average female life expectancy: 87 – 99 years
• Australia‟s population of people aged over 85
years has grown 160%, compared to a
national population growth of just 30%
Challenges with ageing
“There was no respect for youth when I was young and now that I am old,
there is no respect for age – I missed it coming and going”. J.B Priestly
• Western culture values people for what they can produce, do, create or
• Desire to stay „young‟ forever
• Influences affecting ageing outcomes
• Holistic care includes spiritual care
• Assessment of spiritual needs
• Spiritual Care Planning
• Helpful Tools
• 3 stories from Aged Care Chaplaincy experience
Influences affecting ageing
• Social/relationship support
• Ethnicity & Genetics
• Chronic illnesses
• Frailty requiring further care
People are physical, psychological/social, spiritual
Older people need holistic
care and emotional support
as well as assistance with
activities of daily living.
How would you define spirituality?
How do you express your spirituality in everyday life?
What do you believe in?
What gives life meaning?
Personal quest for understanding and
seeking answers to ultimate
• Relationship to the sacred or
System of beliefs, practices, rituals &
symbols designed to:
• Facilitate closeness to the sacred or
• Foster an understanding of one‟s
relationship & responsibility to
others in community
“The ageing journey itself involves
spiritual work in order to have hope,
develop maturity leading to wisdom
and to find meaning towards end of
life” (Nouwen & Gaffney, 1976).
Spiritual Tasks (MacKinlay)
• Working through issues of guilt
• Forgiveness of self as well as others
• Reconciliation with others
• Reconciliation with God
Hoped for Outcomes
Anna Bloemhard sees spiritual care:
• Creating an atmosphere of trust and peace
• Supporting resident and family
• Helping to diminish fears and anxiety about suffering and death
• Increasing coping skills
• Restoration and maintenance of dignity and sense of personhood
• Reciprocal interpersonal connections
• Finding sense of meaning and purpose for all involved
Spiritual Strength & Support
Ongoing Spiritual Assessment
Concept of God
Sources of hope & strength
How do you practice your spirituality?
How can we support you in this?
Is anything particularly frightening/meaningful to you now?
Care & support planning
Beware! There is a very real danger of spiritual care planning
becoming too clinical – it is not a medical document!
• Spiritual care supports well-being rather than highlighting what is
• Spiritual care is provided through caring people being „fully present‟
with the older person in all aspects of their care needs
What does a spiritual plan look like?
A spiritual plan should support residents
in re-establishing a commitment to
seeking spiritual growth.
1. What are their needs?
2. What are the goals of the plan ?
3. What is the action plan to achieve
4. Evaluate the plan to see if it is achieving
the stated goals
It is important to keep the conversation going
Cards to draw out questions of meaning
Ups and Downs
Provide down time for reflection
Understand the value of ritual
The benefit of small groups
“That we come to understand that it is the quality of what we think and
say that makes us valuable members of society, not how fast or busy we
Being able to live so open-heartedly and to adjust so well, that others can
look to us and see what being old can bring in terms of life, holiness and
goodness to make the world new again”