At Resthaven Marion, ‘garden gatherings’ are proving beneficial for those residents who choose to participate.
Held in the beautiful Warrawee Gardens in the centre of Resthaven Marion, the gatherings combine expressions of traditional Christian worship with aspects of mindfulness, through meditation and an appreciation of nature.
Lifestyle Coordinator, Karen Neighbour facilitates the gatherings in partnership with Coordinating Chaplain, Rev Dr Bruce Grindlay.
Karen says, ‘Residents who are seeking an expression of spirituality, alongside traditional expressions of religious worship, have shared with us their insights as to how this informal delivery of spiritual services responds to their needs.’
‘The Warrawee Gardens are purpose-built, with areas for reflection and an appreciation of the peace the garden offers. The first garden gathering was held in April 2016.’
‘At the second garden gathering, the service focused on water, and the energy that flows from it.’
‘Water is recognised in many spiritual philosophies as symbolic, promoting calmness, clarity, and purity of body, speech and mind.’
‘These gatherings have proved very popular with residents. Feedback indicated that they found them very meaningful, and they wanted to have them as a regular enhancement to the existing, more formal spiritual services.’
‘As the weather improved, Bruce and the Lifestyle team expanded the spiritual program to include the garden’s tranquillity for mindfulness and meditation.’
‘In October 2016, we celebrated the first birthday of the Warrawee Gardens, where Bruce blessed the garden, and acknowledged the tranquillity and happiness it has brought to residents, families, staff and volunteers.’
‘Bruce and the Lifestyle team composed a special blessing for the garden, reflecting some of the thoughts that residents shared about what the gardens means to them.’
‘The garden gatherings, with their focus on spiritual wellbeing, have given residents who would not usually attend church services the opportunity to benefit from pastoral care.’
The blessing of the rocks and the mindfulness reflections are examples of spiritual care practice reflective of the National Guidelines for Spiritual care in Aged Care.
The Guidelines assert that spirituality is integral to quality of life and wellbeing, and should be accessible to all older people in a way that is meaningful to their beliefs, culture and circumstances. The Guidelines are available here: http://meaningfulageing.org.au/national-guidelines-for-spiritual-care-in-aged-care-documents/