Home or homely? Spiritual meaning of 'home' for residents in aged care

Research output: Other contribution to conferencePresentation onlypeer-review


What makes home ‘home’? Residential care may be an older person’s final residence, yet little research has investigated what ‘home’ actually means, from residents’ perspectives. This session outlines the findings of a qualitative study into the lived experiences and meanings of home for ten older people in care, aged between 72 and 98. Informed by MacKinlay’s (2017) model of spiritual processes and tasks of ageing, in-depth interviews explored meaning and what makes a person feel ‘at home’. Through participants’ narratives, ‘home’ was identified as connection through meaningful relationships and meaningful connection to place, a spiritual concept which is deeply personal and important for older people. Although residential aged care “can be homely, it can’t be home.” Homeliness, however, is influenced by quality of relationships, childhood upbringing, physical environment, and connection with others through meaningful activities and good food.
Reference: MacKinlay, E. (2017). The Spiritual Dimension of Ageing (2nd ed.). Jessica Kingsley Publishers.


Conference9th International Conference on Ageing and Spirituality
Abbreviated titleVital Connections: Claiming voice and learning to listen
OtherThe theme chosen for the 9th International Conference on Ageing and Spirituality[1] is Vital Connections: Claiming voice and learning to listen, an invitation to explore issues of connection within the context of aging and spirituality. The topic of spirituality and aging is of vital importance to our communities, especially as the population of older adults rapidly increases. The COVID-19 pandemic has provided new concerns, opportunities and urgency in this field.

Our conversation will focus on communication (finding language for spirituality, communicating beyond words and across cultures, story-telling and listening), communion (growing in healing relationship with one another, the natural world, and the divine), and community (the role of elders in society, intergenerational relationships, growing old together, dignity and ethics, cultivating hospitable communities for aging). What role is there for the arts, and technology? Finally, what is the state of the field of spirituality and aging? Where have we been and where are we going?

We invite proposals for posters, short pre-recorded videos or papers to be delivered live that engage with any of these topics.
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