We have been working with a group of older people living in the general community to develop a self-reflection guide using a framework called ‘The Map of Meaning’. This is part of our continuing work for our See me. Know me. campaign. Go to our crowdfunding page here.

The Map of Meaning is an evidence-based framework to help people reflect on meaning in their lives. Lani Morris (in New Zealand), who has been involved with the application of the Map over many years, began a process with Meaningful Ageing Australia to apply it in the context of ageing. Lani spoke to over 100 people either individually or in workshops in New Zealand and Australia and drafted some content. Ilsa Hampton, CEO of Meaningful Ageing Australia, then developed a process whereby a group of older people had input into the design, layout, look and feel of the book. Ilsa wrote the final publication with this in mind, also bringing her education and reflective practice background to the task, and using Lani’s draft content. The same group of older people are now spending time with prototypes of the guide (prototype pictured).

There are many joys and challenges that come with ageing – by engaging with meaning, we give ourselves the ability to become more connected to that which sustains us. This Guide could be used by individuals or small groups. It is a fabulous birthday or Christmas gift. There are no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answers – it is a carefully designed self-reflection process that helps us understand ourselves better, and, to the extent that we want to share, it creates opportunities for others to understand us better also. Despite what the media tells us, ageing is a normal part of life and the way we experience it is greatly influenced by our inner world.

Each older person in our reference group browsed the prototype for the first time on a recent Zoom call. Their immediate impressions were very positive, and we are looking forward to making improvements based on their detailed feedback. The book is attractive and easy to read. It is spiral bound with a firm cover to allow for ease of handling, and small enough to fit in a bag (A5 size). It is not too heavy to hold, despite feeling substantial. The paper is a good quality that can handle ink. The illustrations, by Sam Harmer from Ballarat, are inviting and playful.

The book is especially designed for people who are approaching, or in, the years of life when they are ready to engage with the experience of ageing. Many of the ideas are of great use in the years leading up to that time also.

We need help to fund the publication and distribution of the book.

Go to our crowdfunding page to make your pledge – you will not be charged unless we reach our goal! You can choose a pledge that acts as a pre-purchase of the book.

Media enquiries: Ilsa Hampton 0425 758 277 ihampton@meaningfulage.org.au