Many decades ago, when I started my own journey of meditation and living more mindfully as a young twenty-something-year-old, I would never have thought that I would now be spending my days meditating with elders who are approaching their late 90s! Although I started my meditation journey with Vipassana meditation, I soon discovered Christian Meditation and have been meditating in this tradition for decades.
My family and I cared for my mother for 9 months before she died peacefully in her home. Those 9 months were rich and deeply meaningful for me. I watched her living with an awareness and intention that I had never encountered in her before. I knew that I needed to remain connected to my mother in a meaningful way by immersing myself in work with older people. I discovered that working with older people has been a great gift.
Nearly a decade ago, I completed an essential teaching weekend with the Australian Christian Meditation Community (NSW) and was invited to start meditation for older people living in an aged care home. Many reminded me that they lived through the 1960s and had done some form of meditation or relaxation program in their long lives. Some years later, I completed a Masters degree based on research of one of the Meditation Groups that I facilitated. I have been on a wonderful learning journey, and I hope the offering of a guidebook, Meditation for Older People will bring that richness to other older people.
The purpose of this book is to promote the facilitation of Mindfulness Meditation Groups in all aged care settings, so that older people have the opportunity to reflect in a mindful and meaningful way on their life as it unfolds moment by moment. As a social worker with decades of generalised group work experience and skills, I have found that facilitating a therapeutic group space for older people is different. The facilitation required is specialised due to the context in which these individuals are living, especially if they are residing in an aged care setting. For this reason, this book is a ‘how to’ book, a practical guidebook based on research, yet with stories and examples woven throughout, in order to hear the voices of elders who are choosing to live more mindful, contemplative lives.
Although the research that forms the basis of this book was undertaken in a residential aged care setting, the practice and facilitation of Meditation Groups is relevant and effective in all aged care settings. This practical guide will not only help facilitators to understand the many benefits of mindfulness meditation, but also to develop the skills and confidence required to run both short- and long-term meditation groups with older people. Step-by-step instructions for running a 6-week mindfulness meditation group, as well as extra resources for further sessions are provided.
If we have even a small group of people from the UK WCCM community that is interested in facilitating such a Meditation Group for older people, I am happy to offer a free 1.5-hour familiarisations via Zoom. I would also be able to provide the people who attended with a free PDF copy of the book which includes the resources and handouts.
My website has more details. Note this book is a non-commercial project and all royalties go to WCCM.