We are very proud of Beate Steller, the Spiritual Wellbeing Coordinator at our Nagle home in Sutherland for Graduating with a Masters in Ageing and Pastoral studies from Charles Sturt University.
Beate chose to base her Research Project on the residents of Nagle and how they might benefit from participating in Mindfulness Meditation.
Beate invited residents to be part of this project and asked them to complete a questionnaire before the program and the same questionnaire after the program to see what difference was made to their wellbeing by asking them what is meaningful to them. Beate had 13 residents participate in the six-week program which was a great response.
“The idea was informed by my own experience of Meditation and by the belief that meditation can enhance spiritual growth and wellness. I was curious if there would be an interest in a meditation group in the home. Wellness and spiritual growth are areas of concern in Residential Aged Care where there is growing statistical evidence that depression rates are high for older people living in care,” said Beate.
“The focus of the group was originally on mindful meditation only. As the program developed, I introduced gratitude activities, poetry and other processes that I hoped would promote spiritual growth and wellness,” said Beate
The residents most appreciated this time for the opportunity to share with others. They enjoyed the gratitude activities and the safe environment where they could express themselves without judgement. They were stimulated by the input of others and felt encouraged to share their own reflections.
“I need the spiritual stimulation and I love to participate with others. It is an encouragement for me personally to express myself. I believe I am a spiritual being, apart from being a physical being, so I need to keep that in mind and cherish it and stimulate it with others,” said Dot, a participant in the group.
“When so much is changing in your life, seeing it with gratitude is important to feel comfortable with these life changes. You have to become quiet and still sometimes to be able to listen to yourself and process your thoughts. We sometimes used Poetry or calming YouTube clips to help find those moments of stillness and silence,” said Beate.
By the end of the six-week program the residents showed a greater understanding of how mindfulness meditation was affecting their moods and health. They were connecting mindfulness with their own spiritual growth and some associated it with relaxation, helping them to sleep and with problem solving.
We feel very grateful that Beate has given the Nagle residents this experience and that she is so passionate about enhancing our resident’s spiritual wellness. We’re excited for the resources that will come out of this research and for other Residential Care homes to start their own Mindfulness Meditation programs.