Enabling a better understanding of the importance of the spiritual dimension to the well-being of older people.

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Older People

Are you an older person using health or social care services? Do you support an older person? We are keen to hear your views about what spiritual care means.

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Faith Communities

As our charity's title implies, we seek both to affirm the faith we have in older people and to explore any special insights into faith that older people might have.

Read more »

Health Care

Faith in Older People is keen to link with staff in health services to work together on how we can better understand and meet older people's spiritual needs in that context.

Read more »

Social Care

There is an increasing focus on providing ‘person-centred’ care which includes the physical, emotional ...

Read more »


Faith in Older People works to celebrate the lives of older people, and to develop best practice in understanding and meeting the spiritual needs of older people and their families.

We recognise that the idea of ‘spiritual care’ is complex. It includes faith-based needs but also encompasses those which are not allied to a particular faith.

We work with individuals, organisations and services of all kinds to promote understanding and develop good practice.

We hope you will find our website stimulating and informative. Please contact us and tell us about your interests and ideas and please visit us again.

FiOP aims to improve the quality of life of older people by ensuring that person-centred care fully incorporates the spiritual dimension so that what really matters to an individual, drawn from their personal histories, needs and routines is recognised and acted upon. We work primarily with those who provide care, whether paid or unpaid, be they health or social care staff, hospital chaplains, volunteers and clergy. To do this we offer a range of courses; undertake research; organise debates and lectures to challenge thinking provide mentoring and support and develop ways of worshipping with people who have dementia.

Faith in Older People is a registered company SC 322915. Limited by guarantee with charitable status. Registered Charity No. SC038225.


Are you an older person using health or social care services?

Do you support an older person?

We are keen to hear your views about what spiritual care means. Please contact us. Here are some examples of how others understand these terms: -

It was the way the nurses turned me over when I was unable to do it myself immediately after the operation. It was very intimate and just felt so very kind. From Spiritual Care Matters, NHS Education for Scotland.
Someone to be there for me, to offer comfort, hope and care -listening - if needed. Quoted by Nigel Hartley, St Christopher’s Hospice.
It is not just about religion but caring for the body and soul. Quoted by Nigel Hartley, St Christopher’s Hospice.

What do you think good spiritual care is? How would you describe it?

Have you had experiences - perhaps in hospital or receiving support at home - which have made you think about this? These might be negative or positive.

Do you have views about how organisations providing care or support should be addressing people’s spiritual needs?

We would love to hear from you! Please contact us.

If you would like to read more about this subject, please visit our resources page.

Health Care

Faith in Older People is keen to link with staff in health services to work together on how we can better understand and meet older people’s spiritual needs in that context.

If you work in health services:

  • What does spiritual care mean in your role?
  • What helps or hinders you from addressing people’s spiritual needs?
  • What do you, as a person, need to help you to do this?

Please contact us with your views and ideas.

Please take a look at Geoff Lachlan's recent Powerpoint presentation Why Spirituality Matters in the NHS Today

The World Health Organisation defines health and well-being as encompassing body, mind and spirit.

NHS Education for Scotland says:

Spiritual care in the NHS must be both inclusive and accepting of human difference. As we learn to listen better to the particular needs of different people, so we equip ourselves for work which is more fulfilling and effective. Spiritual Care Matters, NHS Education for Scotland (p.4)

If you would like to find out more, you can find further reading and links to relevant documents by visiting the Health section of our Recommended by Subject Area.

Social Care

Welcome to our Social Care section.

Spiritual Care underpins all holistic care participant in the FiOP Mentoring Programme

There is an increasing focus on providing 'person-centred' care which includes the physical, emotional and spiritual dimensions to fully meet the needs of older people.

It is important not to consider an approach to care as being either person-centred or spiritual care but to consider the crucial areas of overlap. What do we mean? Our spiritual needs encompass the need to be included; to be comforted; to be occupied and sometimes to be given a chance to give time and help to others. It also embraces the need to be quiet; to be able to enjoy being outdoors; to hear birdsong and feel the wind or smell the soil and leaves. Equally this might be music, art or an expression of faith.

What do we do? Faith in Older People works with staff in residential and day care settings to develop their understanding of the spiritual dimension of people's lives. We want to stimulate thought and action; Enable staff to discover their own spiritual needs to increase their confidence in understanding the needs of residents and we provide practical suggestions.

From our research we know that many staff in residential care settings have difficulties in completing the spiritual care element of a care plan. Why? Because spiritual is only seen as being religious; because the focus is on which church or faith someone belongs to with little attention being paid to understanding that a person's life history, likes and dislikes, routines and rituals are necessary elements of enabling someone to have their spiritual care needs met.

Staff members often say that 'it feels as if they are intruding on private matters' so it is important to be able to open up discussions with residents and family to get a deeper understanding of each individual's identity which can be built up over time. FiOP has established a Mentoring Programme for care homes to provide on-going support.

Spiritual care is central to inclusion, equality and diversity and is incorporated in Standard 12 of the National Care Standards for Older People (Social Care and Social Work Improvement Scotland (SCSWIS) ).

Please share your views with us.

Visit our Resources page to find out more.

Our new DVD - 'Spirituality - Have you found any yet - is now available. See below for a preview....

For further information please contact our Director, Maureen O'Neill, email

Faith Communities

Welcome to our Faith Communities section.

As our charity's title implies, we seek both to affirm the faith we have in older people and to explore any special insights into faith that older people might have.

Medicine and psychiatry or even trendsetters and fashion designers do not see much potential in 'old age'. In our culture ageing is synonymous or equated with decline.

It is true that at a purely physical level decline is unavoidable, but there is one area where growth might not seem so surprising in later life - in matters spiritual.

We work with people from any faith group who have a special interest in helping their older members flourish - clergy, pastoral carers, visitors, befrienders, those who worship with older people in care homes or those who find themselves in the role of carer to an older person.

We carry out projects, produce training materials, offer training courses, day events etc, and recommend reading and other resources. Please have a look at the other relevant sections of our website.

Mary Moffett is the lead person in this area, and can be contacted by using the main e-mail address given at the left of this page.

Please share your views with us.

About Us


Enabling a better understanding of the importance of the spiritual dimension to the well-being of older people.

Our Aims

  • to educate, encourage and support volunteers, health and social care workers, members of faith communities and other agencies to increase their understanding of spiritual care and issues around ageing.
  • to deliver events, courses and materials to meet identified need.
  • to continue to build the capacity and efficiency of the organisation.

Faith in Older People's work enables people to become more attuned to the spiritual values of compassion, wisdom, truth, beauty, kindness and courage.


There is a growing emphasis within our health and social care services to recognize spiritual care as an intrinsic part of compassionate care.

We work in partnership with health and social care staff to interpret and implement the following standards:

Health and well-being are defined as encompassing body, mind and spirit.World Health Organisation
Spiritual care is now a positive requirement within the Health Service and NHS staff are expected to acknowledge spiritual needs and aspirations and to be sensitive to the wide variation in values and cultural backgrounds of their patients.HDL (2002) 76, Spiritual Care in Scotland
Staff must make sure that they are properly informed about the implications for you and others of your social, cultural and religious belief or faith.The Care Inspectorate - National Care Standards (12)


There are many definitions of spiritual but central to all of them is ‘developing an understanding of what gives meaning to peoples' lives’. For some this might include relationships with family and friends, or encompass creativity, (art, music etc.) whilst for others religion may be important.

This is a dimension of our lives which many people find very difficult to interpret and to meet, particularly in care homes or hospital where the focus is primarily on physical well-being. The World Health Organisation defines good health as encompassing body, mind and spirit and good person centred care must take into account all these aspects. It is acknowledged that people of all ages share basic human needs that include:

  • Love - the receiving and giving of affection
  • Faith - someone or something to believe in
  • Hope - something to look forward to
  • Peace - finding a measure of stability and tranquillity
  • A sense of worth - of being of value to others.

Picture of Tree

There is a great need to provide affirmation to people as they grow older and perhaps frailer that their life has had value; that they have and continue to contribute in whatever way they are able and that we can celebrate age in whatever condition we find ourselves. It is important that we allow older people at the end of their lives to ensure that they are reconciled to issues in the past and that they have the opportunity to be at peace with themselves, family and friends.

Our Background

In the following extract from his chapter in 'Spirituality and Personhood', our founder Malcolm Goldsmith sets out the vision and compassion which is the driving force for FiOP's work.

When I visit a care home and see 10-20 people sitting in a room...what do I see? Certainly I see frail, vulnerable and elderly men and women, but I also see people who have endured a great deal, who have created much, who have loved and been loved. People whose lives have created the society in which I live, and for which I am grateful. These are the people who have maintained the fabric of this world, and perhaps for most of them, their daily work has been their prayer. And what do I wish for these men and women? My wish is that they can live their final days with a sense of dignity and honour, that they can find some form of meaningful relationship with others and with their own inner being. My wish is that they may discover and maintain an inner peace and a sense of wonder, and that those who care for them engage with them in such a way that lives are transformed and that even the simplest and most mundane task can be, using religious language, ‘sacramental’ although they do not need the religious language. Spirituality is as relevant for the non-religious as it is for the religious because it is about the fundamental meaning of being human.Spirituality and Personhood in Dementia. Malcolm Goldsmith, Ed Albert Jewell 2011

Drawing on his considerable skills of persuasion and determination Malcolm drew together a small group to form Faith in Older People. He recognised and appreciated the gifts and experience of old age, but also understood the losses that occur and how easy it is for congregations to lose sight of older members when they are no longer able to participate.

His vision, patience and inspiration has helped to establish what is still a young organisation, but one which is growing in influence by providing innovative methods of encouraging and supporting people to value the importance of spiritual lives of older people in their care; both in a practical way with other congregations and into the wider sphere of health and social care.

Our small team is committed to the work to make sure that the vision of our Founder, Malcolm Goldsmith, is made a reality. For many older people the end of their lives is spent in a 'strange land' be it as a result of dementia or the need for care away from familiar surroundings, so the challenge to FiOP is to:

help people discover how to live their lives with creativity and hope.In a Strange Land; Malcolm Goldsmith 2004

Our definition of spiritual care is ‘what gives meaning and purpose to everyday lives’ and lifts the spirit. Malcolm strongly believed that FiOP should be involved with those of faith and those with none and that the work should be open and embracing.

We work primarily with those who provide care, whether paid or unpaid, be they health or social care staff, hospital chaplains, volunteers or clergy.

To do this we offer a range of courses; hold conferences highlighting ideas and new work; organise debates and lectures to challenge thinking; provide mentoring and support and develop ways of worshipping with people who have dementia.

Supporting FiOP

Our Sponsors

We are extremely grateful to those individuals, trusts and churches who have been prepared to support us financially - their faith in us enables us to celebrate and support Faith in Older People.


We are actively seeking further funding from a variety of sources and are particularly grateful to all individual donors.


FiOP has a team of two part-time staff members. The essence of our approach is to work collaboratively and we have developed an extended team of individuals who bring range of valuable expertise and experience to our work which enables FiOP to respond to demand and to make best use of the resources available.


Maureen O'Neill



Rt Rev Bruce Cameron, Chairperson

Elected Bishop of Aberdeen & Orkney (1992), and Primus of Scottish Episcopal Church (2000), after retirement in 2006 he was Resident Scholar for a year in the USA. In 2008 he and his wife, Elaine, were Interim Wardens at the ecumenical conference centre - Scottish Churches House. Currently Associate Convenor of Scottish Churches Housing Action, and Convenor of Scottish Friends of Ecumenism, he & Elaine live in Perthshire & enjoy gardening, reading, theatre and music.

Helen Mein, Company Secretary

Helen has worked in the voluntary sector in Scotland for 30 years. She has initiated and managed a number of projects, held appointments to various statutory bodies and was Co-ordinator of Positive Help. Helen has served on various management committees and was Chair of The Mental Health Advocacy Project in West Lothian.

Elspeth Glasgow

Liz Grant

Dr Liz Grant is Deputy Director of the Global Health Academy, University of Edinburgh withresponsibility for a wide range of cross disciplinary global health programmes  across the University’s three Colleges.  She co-directs the online Masters programmes in Global Health, Non Communicable diseases, in Global Health Challenges and the Masters in Family Medicine specifically set up to support doctors in rural India and countries in Africa build primary health care skills.  She leads the international and the spiritual care research strands of the University’s Primary Palliative Care Research Group with a focus on    integrating  palliative care into the health systems of 4 African Countries.

Dr Grant previously worked for the Scottish Government as Health Advisor in the International Development Team, for NHS Lothian Public Health Directorate, and in Kenya at Chogoria Hospital. 

Chris Levison

Rev Chris Levison is an ordained minister of the Church of Scotland. He has worked in parishes in Leith, Lanarkshire and Paisley. He was for five years a chaplain at the University of Aberdeen. In 1998 he was appointed chaplain at the Victoria Infirmary in Glasgow. Seconded by the Scottish Executive Health Department as Healthcare Chaplaincy Training and Development Officer he was appointed Spiritual Care Co-ordinator in NHS Scotland, within NHS Education for Scotland.

He  worked with each health board in the formulation and implementation of Spiritual Care Policies, which recognise the multicultural nature of modern Scotland, and the spiritual needs of patients, their carers and healthcare staff who may or may not be part of a faith or belief community. He worked with healthcare chaplains concerning their training and educational needs.

Professor Mary Marshall

Mary is professor emeritus at the University of Stirling where she was director of the Dementia Services Development Centre until 2005. She employed our founder, Malcolm, as a researcher and obtained a JRF grant for him to research and then write his important book "Hearing the voice of people with dementia". She is now retired but continues to write and lecture on dementia care especially on design and ethics.

Bob Rendall

Educated at The Salvation Army’s International Training College in London and St Mary’s College, St Andrews, Bob has over 40 years experience of voluntary sector management. He has been a director/Trustee of numerous Voluntary Sector groups and instrumental in the development of local Stroke Club, Dyslexic group, citywide support for carers, registered day care service for people with dementia and a range of other activities. Bob is currently CEO at the Eric Liddell Centre in Edinburgh where he has been privileged to lead part of its transformation from church hall based activities to the professional, charitable, enterprising agency that now exists. Bob is committed to a fairer society in which the infinite value of each individual is valued and where community transformation and development comes about through the transformation of individual lives.

Specialties: Developing holistic programmes/services that enhance and enrich the quality of peoples' lives

Isabel Smyth

Sister Isabel Smyth taught for over twenty years in the religious education department of St Andrew's College of Education, which prepared teachers for the catholic school system in Scotland. 

Isabel has been a member of the Glasgow Sharing of Faiths Group for thirty years.  She worked with the Inter Faith Network for the UK to investigate the possibility of a Scottish Network and became the secretary to the Scottish Inter Faith Consultative Group and then founding secretary, Director and CEO of the Scottish Inter Faith Council.

She has served on a variety of inter faith and religious education bodies including the Churches Agency for Inter Faith Relations in Scotland, the UK Churches Commission for Inter Faith Relations and the Religious Education Movement in Scotland. She has been an honorary lecturer in the Centre for Inter Faith Studies at Glasgow University, having co-taught the Master’s Degree in Inter Faith Relations for the ten years of its existence.

At present she is secretary to the Bishops’ Committee for Interreligious Dialogue, Chair of Interfaith Scotland and an executive member of the West of Scotland Council of Christians and Jews as well as the UK Inter Faith Network.  In 2007 Isabel was awarded an OBE for her work in inter faith relations.

Dianna Wolfson

Dianna was the Head teacher of Calderwood Lodge Jewish Primary School in Glasgow for 22 years, before retiring in 1998. She was Convenor of the Scottish Inter Faith Council (now known as Interfaith Scotland) from 2004 to 2007. Dianna has also been involved in Glasgow South Hospitals Multicultural Committee for a number of years and in activities for the Jewish Community in Glasgow.




Dr. Harriet Mowat
Mowat Research

Harriet has worked in the field of ageing and care of older people for a long time. She started her working life in residential care for older people and now runs a small research and development business as well as working at Aberdeen University in the Centre for the Study of Spirituality, Health and Disability

Dr. Kate Allan
Dementia Positive

Kate is a clinical psychologist who has worked in the dementia field for over ten years. She has lectured and written widely on the subject.

Mary Moffett
Support Worker for Elderly People at St Cuthbert's Church, Colinton.

Mary Moffett is one of the lynch pins of FiOP and brings a wealth of experience working with churches on an ecumenical basis drawing on her practical work as the Support Worker for Older People at St. Cuthbert's Parish Church, Colinton.


The Rev Professor John Swinton
Theological Advisor

John Swinton is professor in Practical Theology and Pastoral Care in the School of Divinity at the University of Aberdeen. He has a background in mental health nursing and healthcare chaplaincy and has published extensively within the areas of practical theology, mental health, dementia and the theology of disability. He is director of Aberdeen University's Centre for Spirituality, Disability and Health. He is also the Theological Advisor to FiOP.

Penny Grieve

Penny was previously a Training officer with Pain Association, Scotland and has wide experience working with groups in Mental Health & Health Education.

John Killick

John is a poet, writer and broadcaster who has been appointed writer in residence with people with dementia for Alzheimer Scotland.

Revd Sue Kirkbride

Sue is Minister of Saughtonhall United Reformed Church. Saughtonhall URC is part of Murrayfield Churches Together (MCT). The Murrayfield Club, run by MCT, provides Day Care for people with dementia and for older people.


FIOP develops and delivers a range of courses.

Costs and further details of all these courses can be obtained by contacting the FiOP office.

The following is a list of some of the topics we have covered in training sessions in the last three years:

  • Keeping the Spirit Alive
  • Spiritual Tasks of Ageing
  • Spiritual Wellbeing - enhancing spiritual wellbeing but acknowledging the effects of chronic pain, hearing loss or sight loss.
  • Transition times - from home to care
  • Listening skills - for those visiting frail elderly at home or in care.
  • Communication Skills - for those visiting frail elderly at home or in care.
  • Loss & Bereavement
  • Dementia

The topic of dementia can overlap all of the above and we have found that for a thorough exploration - approximately 6 x 2 hours -spread out over several weeks or months works best - otherwise people get mental indigestion!

Courses are offered both generally or can be tailored to the specific needs of each group in regards to number of sessions and particular content.

Sometimes individual topics are selected by a congregation or ecumenical group because they are particularly interested. This also applies to health and social care staff.

View our Annual Report 2012-2013

Latest News

Forthcoming Events


Proposed training courses / events for 2014 (dates to be confirmed):

  • From Greeting to Goodbye - Visiting a person with Dementia
  • Pastoral Visiting with Older People
  • Worshipping with People with Dementia
  • Journeying Towards Death
  • 'Creating Culturally Appropriate Outside Spaces and Experiences for People with Dementia' A conversation with Mary Marshall
  • Exploring Loss and Bereavement
  • Storytelling
  • Godly Play
  • Resilience
  • Good Practice in Supporting Spiritual Care
  • 'At the Receiving End' - supporting family carers

For more information on any of the above courses / events, please email us on:

Cancellation Policy for FiOP events: Because of the emphasis on participation the numbers are usually kept small and we attempt to keep costs as low as possible. Therefore course fees can only be refunded if the cancellation is made ten days prior to the course taking place. If you are unable to attend you may offer the place to a colleague.
FiOP is always pleased to discuss tailoring events and training for organisations to suit the audience

Previous Events

Previous Courses/Workshops run by FiOP have been:




11th March 2014


Annual Malcolm Goldsmith Lecture 2014

Rabbi Baroness Neuberger DBE

'Dying Well and why it matters?'


Held on Tuesday 11th March 2014, 2-3pm
At The Roxburghe Hotel, 38 Charlotte Square, Edinburgh EH2 4HQ
Followed by tea and coffee from 3pm in the Atrium


24th October 2013


28th November 2013

Journeying Towards Death
Explore responses to issues around death and dying and strengthen your ability to provide support to your family and members of your congregation.
Two one day courses held in Glasgow on: 24th October 2013 and 28th November 2013
Venue: Ignatian Spirituality Centre, 35 Scott Street, Glasgow G3 6PE

Cost of workshops:
Both sessions: £40
Individual courses: £25

click here to download leaflet
 7 - 10th July 2013  

Creativity, resilience and spiritual care for older People

Held at John McIntyre Conference Centre Pollock Halls Edinburgh Organised by FiOP in collaboration with Methodist Homes Association This conference continued to develop the themes from previous conferences held in Adelaide & Canberra in Australia, Durham in the UK and recently in 2009 in New Zealand.

Monday, 8th July 2013
at 4.30


At the John McIntyre Conference Centre, Pollock Halls, University of Edinburgh

Professor Susan McFadden
Wisconsin Oshkosh University, USA
She co-authored her most recent book, Aging Together: Dementia, Friendship, and Flourishing Communities, with her husband, John. It was published by Johns Hopkins University Press in 2011. This theme was the basis of the lecture.

Download the text from the Malcolm Goldsmith Lecture 2013

 Thursday 16th May 2013


Let's Talk, a one-day conference in Edinburgh:

How should our churches adapt to an ageing population with confidence and how can we instil a greater openness about death, dying and bereavement?

This ecumenical conference contributed to the Awareness Week organised by the GoodLife, GoodDeath, Good Grief Alliance and was an opportunity to discuss the way in which we support older people both practically and spiritually.

Dr Harriet Mowat, Faith in Older People
Mark Hazelwood, Scottish Palliative Care Partnership
Jenny Henderson, Alzheimer’s Scotland
Dr Ewan Kelly, NHS Education Spiritual Care Unit

Venue:Church of Scotland, 121 George Street, Edinburgh EH2 4YN


15th - 17th Nov 2012

The Edinburgh Epiphany Group in collaboration with FiOP

A Conference on the theme of ageing and spiritual care

Venue: Gillis Centre, Edinburgh

18th October 2012


Ewan kelly round table discussion


28th September 2012

Creative Communication Course


29th May 2012
Faith in Older People in collaboration with Centre for Theology and Public issues present

The Annual Malcolm Goldsmith Lecture 2012

Finding meaning in the experience of dementia.

Speaker: Professor Elizabeth McKinlay
Charles Sturt University, Queensland, Australia

5pm Tea; Lecture 5.30pm Drinks Reception following lecture

Lecture Room 1, New College, The University of Edinburgh, The Mound, Edinburgh

Download the text from the Malcolm Goldsmith lecture

17th May 2012

10.00am - 3.30pm

Leading the Way

The Church and an Ageing Society

Keynote Speakers:
Maureen O'Neill, Director, Faith in Older People, Edinburgh
Keith Albans, MHA Group Director, Chaplaincy & Spirituality

MHA Auchlochan Garden Village

Download the text from the conference

Spiritual Care of Older People in Residential Care


Three workshops were held in the North of Scotland by Dr Harriet Mowat these were held on 16th November 2009 in Inverness, 18th November 2009 in Aberdeen, and on 4th December in Skye.

Communication Course - Glasgow and Edinburgh


John Killick and Kate Allan ran this very successful course in Glasgow on behalf of FiOP. This was the third course on this topic which is aimed at helping people to better understand dementia and ways of communicating with those with dementia.

It was very resourceful, challenging and engaging

Previous Conferences run by FiOP have been:

May 2009

Old Age: Wasteland or Harvest Field

After a successful conference in Edinburgh in October 2008 this was repeated in Inverness

Download the conference report

October 2008

Old Age: Wasteland or Harvest Field


Download the conference report

November 2007

Conference in Edinburgh

Held at the Eric Liddell Centre, 13.11.07. Attending were people from the Catholic Church, Scottish Episcopal Church, United Reformed Church, and Church of Scotland, and the Baptist Church and included ministers and chaplains as well as visitors and carers from within those denominations. The feedback from those attending was very positive and the issues and proposals will be of great assistance to FiOP in developing its future work.

Download the conference report

27th May 2010

The Spiritual Journey And Well-Being In Old Age

at Centre for Research in Health & Social Issues, Crichton Campus Dumfries

The context

There is growing recognition that spiritual care is critically important in ensuring the well-being of older people as part of person centred care. What defines 'spiritual' is very individualistic and Faith in Older People uses the definition of 'what gives meaning to a person's life' which can encompass religion and other key factors.

Within the Health and Social Care services there is a requirement to enable spiritual care needs to be met and research has shown that this is often difficult for staff and volunteers to interpret.

Purpose of the conference

The conference aimed to increase understanding of the importance of the spiritual journey in old age and how congregations and health and social care staff can be enabled to ensure that older people receive the spiritual care they need.


The conference was for ministers, elder trainers, pastoral carers and health and social care workers.


Spiritual Care for Older People in Residential Care


In the Autumn, and before the snow came, we ran three Day Workshops in the North of Scotland in Inverness, Skye and Aberdeen.

The intention was to offer residential care home staff the opportunity to take a day to think through some of the issues around ageing and spirituality and the implications of this for spiritual care for older people. We were delighted with the response to our invitation. The workshops were intended to accommodate only 12 people - in two of the three cases we were bursting at the seams. However it was good to see such an interest in the topic.

The day consisted of three parts. We thought about our own ageing and what that might mean in terms of our understanding of the ageing of others. We considered the challenges of working in residential care and the pressures on time and energies for the staff. We also thought about what ‘successful’ ageing might look like. In the afternoon we thought about the spiritual care of older people using an exercise called cards on the table. This allowed the group to share ideas and develop their thinking around the priorities and practicalities of spiritual care. We finished by looking at a model of spiritual care that has been developed by a group of healthcare chaplains and researchers working in the North of Scotland. This is now written up and about to be published in the Scottish Journal of Health Care Chaplaincy.


Making Sense of Later Life


This was well attended and appreciated.

Affirming, relaxed, participative
Life Stories, poetry and storytelling as an integral part of our work
Creativity never fades. Everyone has something joyful to offer. A moment of your time is all that’s required to makes someone’s day.
The variety of people’s experiences, which if known may help to plan their care or help with communication, in a nursing situation.


The Stories We Live by


FiOP was especially pleased that Rosas Mitchell and Chris Wilkins offered a day entitled ‘The Stories We Live by’ in Edinburgh in September.

During the day Rosas helped us to explore life story work (the importance of listening to people’s stories) and working out how to record them in creative ways to make sure that they could be used to produce good times in later years.

Chris gave us the background to the Caring Memories programme. This helps people create a life book with personal photographs explaining why capturing and sharing our life memories helps us to define who we are and enables communicating so much more about ourselves than might first meet the eye. More information can be obtained from


FiOP has been very active in the last three months working with congregations in the Lothians, the Borders and Fife on topics as diverse as ‘Keeping the Spirit Alive’, ‘Why do we visit’ and seasonal topics including All Saints, All Souls, and Remembrance. In responding to demand over the past few years we have developed a broad range of topics on which we can run workshops, seminars or conferences. Please see our website for further details and we would be delighted to discuss developing a course which meets the requirements of your group or organisation.

Examples include:

  • Spiritual Tasks of Ageing
  • Communicating with People with Dementia
  • Spiritual Care in Care Settings
  • Worshipping with people with Dementia
  • Chronic Pain and Spiritual Wellbeing

Over the next few months we will be happy to offer materials or workshops on the seasonal topics of Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Candlemas and Lent.

Download our Working in New Areas report.

Contact Us

Faith in Older People
21a Grosvenor Crescent
EH12 5EL

Tel: 0131 346 7981

Age and Ageing Links

Training course: The Blessings of Aging eCourse with Joan Chittister, October 7 - November 1 Click here to subscribe

Age UK Scotland

Older people pages of Scottish Government website

Joint Improvement Team: Reshaping care for older people

Scottish Centre for Intergenerational Practice

Dementia Links


Alzheimer Scotland

Scottish Dementia Working Group

Alzheimer Society

Dementia Services Development Centre

Carers Panel

Sally Magnusson will launch her new book "Where Memories Go", an account of caring for her mother, at an event at DSDC, Stirling on 10th February. Save the date, further details and a programme will be available shortly.

Dementia Positive

Glorious Opportunity

Art and Creativity Links

Luminate, Scotland's Creative Ageing Festival 1st - 31st October 2013,1UHB9,81M3UN,6M0HQ,1

Spare Tyre Theatre Company

National Center for Creative Aging

Sandwell Third Age Arts

TimeSlips Creative Storytelling Project

Miscellaneous Links


Acorn in Scotland:

Good Life, Good Death, Good Grief awareness week: Click here to view this message in your browser.

Newsletters and Reports



February 2014

Download a pdf version of the February 2014 newsletter

November 2013

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September 2013 Download a pdf version of the September 2013 newsletter

June 2013

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May 2013

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March 2013

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January 2013

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November 2012

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Sept 2012

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June 2012

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Winter 2011 Download a pdf version of the Winter 2011 newsletter
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Winter 2010 Download a pdf version of the Winter 2010 newsletter
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Spring 2009 Download a pdf version of the Spring 2009 newsletter
Winter 2008 Download a pdf version of the Winter 2008 newsletter
Summer 2008 Download a pdf version of the Summer 2008 newsletter
Winter 2007 Download a pdf version of the Winter 2007 newsletter


Annual Reports


DateAnnual Report
2010/11 Download a pdf version of the 2010/11 annual report
2009/10 Download a pdf version of the 2009/10 annual report
2008/09 Download a pdf version of the 2008/09 annual report
2007/08 Download a pdf version of the 2007/08 annual report

Newsletter Articles

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Gaynor Hammond from Faith in Elderly People, Leeds has produced a Training Manual for Care Homes For the Holistic Care of Older People. Please contact her at for further details.

Material From Events

Harvest Report
Tracing Rainbows through the Rain

Addressing the challenge of dementia in later life. This is a presentation by Malcolm Goldsmith to a conference on Ageing and Spirituality that was held in Australia last September. This is also available as a DVD.

Grow Old Along with me - The challenge of creative ageing

Malcolm Goldsmith. This is the text of the annual (2007) Social Care Lecture of the Catholic Archdiocese of Edinburgh and St Andrews.

Worshipping with Older People

Project Report
Prayers and Poems relating to Dementia
Evening Prayer Service CD

CDs and DVDs


Evening Prayer Service
Evening Prayer Service

This CD it is spoken slowly and clearly with familiar words, which makes it particularly suitable for people with dementia and those who are having memory or sight problems. Large print versions are available with the CD

Tracing Rainbows through the Rain

Addressing the challenge of dementia in later life. This is a presentation by Malcolm Goldsmith to a conference on Ageing and Spirituality that was held in Australia last September. This is also available as a DVD.

Tidying the Drawer

- a teaching aid produced by Mary Moffett relating to her work in Colinton to be used as part of a workshop is available as a video and a DVD.

‘It's still ME, Lord...’

A DVD exploring Spirituality and Dementia - produced by Caritas Social Action Network. View the film online.

Spirituality - have you found any yet?

This DVD was jointly produced by Faith in Older People, Alzheimer's Scotland and Artlink Scotland. The DVD will be available to care homes throughout Scotland to encourage staff in ensuring that people's spiritual needs are met. View the preview online.

Who will hold my soul?

Dementia, friendship and the spirituality of caring communities.
Speaker: The Revd Professor John Swinton. 17th May 2011

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