Each stage of life presents new challenges, but it's all part of life's journey. And every new chapter can be an opportunity to grow. The senior years, in particular, can bring more time to spend with family, especially grandchildren, and more freedom to explore interests, travel, and hobbies. It can also bring new changes, like the need to downsize or perhaps even move from a home of many years. Changes like that can bring feelings of sadness or isolation. However, there are resources to help those feelings be addressed and overcome.
How Spiritual Direction Helps
Spiritual Directors at The Goodman Group’s managed senior living communities strive to engage seniors in conversations that allow them to open up about difficult or painful emotions. This can be a great way to help restore the individual’s sense of internal balance, peace, and life purpose.
Joyce Pruyn, Spiritual Director at West Hills Village, an assisted living community in Portland, Oregon, explained that when residents seem “low” or sad, she provides them with a questionnaire, asking to rate their responses on a scale of “not at all” to “very much” for 21 statements.
“This tool helps us fine-tune our assessment,” Joyce says. That fine-tuning not only allows the Spiritual Director to better get to know the resident. It helps in developing an individual’s one-on-one program.
“One the questionnaire statements is, ‘I am able to reach down deep into myself for comfort,’” she explains. If a resident doesn’t feel they’re able to do that, Joyce can work with them to find ways of restoring that ability.
For example, Spiritual Directors help residents revisiting ways they were able to find comfort in the past. That could involve a wide range of possibilities, including re-connecting to a lost faith, spending more time with nature, and re-engaging in a lost expression like music, painting, or dancing.
A Renewed Life Purpose: Mary’s Story
Having and expressing a sense of life’s purpose is one of the most important elements of a full and rich life. Identifying the issues quickly is important when that sense is lost.
That was the case with one of our residents, a former grade-school teacher we’ll call Mary. Mary missed working with children and playing the piano, a few things she enjoyed doing for many years.
Once Mary opened up with her community’s Spiritual Director about these interests, we were able to help restore what she needed to live purposefully each day. The Spiritual Director showed Mary the X pianos throughout her community building.
You can hear more about how Spiritual Directors are helping to find renewed life purpose in this video featuring our Director of Spirituality, Hutch Walch.