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Handbook for service providers leaves no excuses for lack of meaningful engagement

The Map of Meaning and Ageing: a handbook for service providers is designed to assist with service planning, client goal setting and planning meaningful engagement. Staff involved in service planning, assessment and activities can use the handbook to ensure that they offer more than ‘busywork’; instead they can actively contribute to each person’s quality of life by utilising the Map of Meaning framework.

At Meaningful Ageing Australia, we believe that for human flourishing, our spiritual needs must be attended to. Central to this is activating our sources of hope, which is intimately connected to having a feeling that life is meaningful. We can survive all sorts of profound challenges as long as our sense of meaning is intact. This all occurs in a relational context.

The Map of Meaning and Ageing is a valuable tool to engage with contemporary spiritual care. The Aged Care Quality Standards have been a great help in making this much clearer, but we still have a way to go.

Seventy-two-year-old co-author Lani Morris, who has been working with the Map of Meaning for 20 years, says “our need for meaning is as vital as our need for water. Ageing brings many challenges and joys – what remains constant is our need for meaning.”

The handbook was launched by Dr Jane Kuepfer, from Conrad Grebel University College, Canada, who specialises in spirituality and ageing. Dr Kuepfer describes the handbook as “an engaging and thought-provoking tool that is both rooted in the realities of getting older and helps elders, and those who live and work with them, to reach for meaning in daily life.” Service providers from across Australia including Christadelphian Aged Care, Resthaven, St Basil’s Aged Care Services and Uniting AgeWell Victoria/Tasmania had input into the handbook to ensure it was fit for purpose in their context.

The Map of Meaning and Ageing: a handbook for service providers is available free to Meaningful Ageing Australia’s member organisations. Aspects of the guide will be published in our e-newsletter, website and social media channels. The resource can be ordered through our resources webstore.