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Spiritual Care For Older People

sonas_thumbTwenty one years ago Mary Threadgold RSC, then a practicing Speech and Language Therapist founded Sonas aPc to activate potential for communication (aPc) in older residents in Nursing Homes or attending Day Care. It arose out of her concern for the many people she had seen sitting in day rooms, disengaged from what was going on around them.

Sonas aPc became a training organization, a Limited Company and a Registered Charity and is now run by a CEO and her team.

Thanks to a grant from the Irish Province of the RSC in 2007 she began to address the specific spiritual needs of this older population which includes Christians of all denominations.
In May 2011 the new spirituality programme was launched by a Government Minister at the Annual Sonas aPc Conference. The following is a description of the programme.

Serenity Spirituality Sessions - Spiritual Care for Older People
As Christians our lives are in balance when we look after our physical, social, intellectual, emotional and spiritual health.
Through its spirituality programmes, Sonas aPc aims to help older people to find joy and peace through a broad range of spiritual experiences.
Serenity is one of the indicators of spiritual wellbeing, which enhances quality of life for older people hence we chose it as the name of this programme.

Origin of Serenity

Sonas aPc has undertaken extensive field work in nursing homes across Ireland in the development of a new approach to spirituality. The design of Serenity Spirituality Sessions has been in partnership with a series of nursing homes throughout Ireland. Residents of these nursing homes were of all Christian faiths.
The development centred on a broad view of spirituality that encompassed relationship with God, with oneself, with others and with nature.
Our aim was to enhance spirituality for the older person in care. We believed that the most effective way of doing this was by providing a tool for facilitators, to enable them to hold spirituality sessions for small groups of older people.
The facilitator might be an Activity Co-ordinator, other staff member or volunteer.

Exploring spirituality as ‘relationship’ focuses on four areas:

  • God         - Ambience of quietness and reverence - Scripture, reflection, prayers and hymns.
  • Self          - Valued by facilitator and by others in the group; prayed for.
  • Others     - Concern for others and their needs.
  • Nature     - This is included in a variety of ways e.g. talk about gardening, beautiful scenery, objects e.g. shells, cones, chestnuts, flowers etc.

These four areas have been incorporated into Serenity Spirituality Sessions.

Who is it for?
It is suitable for all older people of any Christian faith who want to continue the practice of their faith and benefit from greater spiritual wellbeing.
For further information on Serenity Spirituality Sessions please visit ‘Serenity Spirituality Sessions’ on the Sonas aPc website.