In this, the first episode of a 4-part Spirituality Series, Jane Kuepfer joins co-hosts Rev. Faye Forbes and Lisa Loiselle to introduce the topic of spirituality and dementia. Jane, RP, PhD, MDiv, is the Schlegel Specialist in Spirituality and Aging with the Schlegel-UWaterloo Research Institute for Aging (RIA). She is a spiritual director, an ordained minister, and a registered psychotherapist, and currently serves as a spiritual care provider in a retirement home. In her role with the RIA, Jane coordinates an annual Spirituality and Aging Seminar, conducts research and teaches graduate courses in Spirituality and Aging.
This episode begins by providing a definition of spirituality – that is, connection and meaning, the essence of life, and transcendence. Referring to the work of Bob Atchley and the idea that spirituality is about our ability to perceive experiences as spiritual, therefore, when we think about spirituality and dementia, Jane goes on to speak about spirituality and that it is not dependent on cognition. Rather, it is about being fully alive.
Later in the episode, Jane discusses the difference between spirituality and religion. Spirituality can be expressed in many ways and both Jane and Faye talk about how they convey spirituality, for example being involved in hope and peace-making in the world. Even thinking about dementia and what it means is a spiritual question according to Jane and that spirituality is a resource for people living with dementia. There are three aspects of spirituality that endure as dementia progresses and Jane goes into detail on these aspects. To wrap up the episode, Jane provides some way that people can support those living with dementia to express their spirituality.
You can find more information at these sites or at our resource page dementiadialogue.ca
Webinar– Spiritual Resiliency, Dementia and Caregiving During Uncertain Days: Staying grounded through hopeful stories and faith practices (May 2020) with Janet Ramsey