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A new Australia-first campaign from Meaningful Ageing, the peak national body for spiritual care and ageing, launches on February 14 during NSW Seniors Week to highlight the importance for older people to find an aged care provider who understands the whole person as much as their clinical needs.

Ilsa Hampton, CEO of Meaningful Ageing Australia, stresses it’s vital for older people and their loved ones to see beyond the nuts and bolts when choosing aged care.  “People want providers that seek to know the person, with all their stories, feelings, beliefs and sense of purpose.  Not only their past experiences, but their hopes, dreams and loves that connect them to life today.”

Spirituality, whether personal belief or faith based, has been identified by the World Health Organisation as intrinsically linked to benefit quality of life.  It directly leads to reduced loneliness, better mental health and resilience.*

“It is essential that the wellbeing of older people is put at the centre of aged care,” commented Professor Yvonne Wells, from La Trobe University’s Lincoln Centre for Research on Ageing. “Our experience is that this can be challenging for a care system that tends to be orientated around clinical models. Meaningful Ageing’s See Me. Know Me. campaign is a great initiative to help drive change by empowering seniors.”

Older people and their loved ones need to ask the right questions when looking for providers, says Ms. Hampton.

“These are not new ideas. International evidence demonstrates that spirituality is intrinsic to quality of life. The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety need to ask hard questions about what stops all providers from having cultures of care that recognise and respond to the whole person.”**

See Me. Know Me. features a top ten list of questions for older people to consider, such as how does the organisation incorporate contemporary spiritual care and maintain connections and relationships.   Care providers should recognise seniors as whole people; what gives them joy, their important rituals and formative life events.

Meaningful Ageing Australia will launch the new website seemeknowme.org.au and social media campaign on 14 February 2019.  Free downloads include posters, conversation starters for older people with their loved ones, and a set of questions to ask aged care providers.

* https://www.who.int/healthinfo/survey/whoqol-qualityoflife/en/index4.html

** https://meaningfulageing.org.au/other-resources/