FiOP is striving to ensure that ‘inclusion’ is integral to all our work. What we mean by inclusion is ensuring that physical, spiritual and relationship aspects of our lives are taken into account; that we don’t lose those important connections with the lives we have lived until we find it difficult physically and or cognitively to continue in the same way.
These aspects of our lives are as important to us wherever we live – home, care home or continuing care in the NHS. We want to develop a stronger understanding of the importance of how our spiritual lives can help to build our resilience to change whether this is through faith, music, creativity or the outside world. The gifts that older people bring must be acknowledged by our faith community or by care providers outwith the family.
We need to lay particular emphasis on the ‘wide ranging attitudes and practices which focus on the search for meaning in human lives, particularly in terms of relationships, values and the arts. It is concerned with quality of life, especially in areas that have not been closed off by technology and science. Spirituality may, or may not, be open to ideas of transcendence and to the possibility of the divine’ (Ferguson, 2011: xxix).
FiOP has incorporated this approach in its current work as we have considered the importance of ‘the outside world’ (Workshop with Professor Mary Marshall); ‘Listening’ (Workshop with Rev Jenny Williams); Music – Singing and Dementia (Workshop with Diana Kerr). Our ‘Dementia Friendly Faith Communities’ is encompassing all these aspects as we develop a comprehensive and affirming approach open to all denominations and faiths. This is echoed in our joint work with the NHS Chaplaincy on identifying ways of supporting spiritual care in continuing care units.
All our work is undertaken in a collaborative way and we would welcome ideas and views about different pieces of work. Please do contact Maureen O’Neill, FiOP Director: firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to put on an event or would like more information about any of our work. Our aim is to be both consultative and inclusive.