Faith in Older People became a registered charity in 2007 following preliminary work undertaken by our founder, Rev Malcolm Goldsmith. He recognised that many older people were becoming more isolated from the activities in which they had been involved and the friendships they had formed. In his own congregation, he had put in place someone to support the needs of these older people and believed that it was important to share the learning and potential with others.
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. He acknowledged how easy it is for congregations to lose sight of older members when they are no longer able to participate. Importantly FiOP’s work should encompass those of faith and those without a faith.
His vision, patience and inspiration established the organisation. It is continuing to grow in influence by providing innovative methods of encouraging and supporting people to value the importance of spiritual lives of older people in their care in a practical way with faith communities and into the wider sphere of health and social care.
Our small team is committed to the work to make sure that his vision becomes a reality. For many older people the end of their lives is spent in a ‘strange land’ whether because of dementia or the need for care away from familiar surroundings.
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)