SINGAPORE – Although Singapore has one of the fastest ageing populations with many services for the elderly, little is said about the spirituality of ageing.

Singapore Pastoral Institute (SPI) together with Caritas Singapore and Family Life Society will address this gap by kickstarting the Dignity of the Elderly project with workshops on aged care and spirituality by expert, Professor Elizabeth MacKinlay (photo).

Professor MacKinlay is a registered nurse, Director of the Centre for Ageing and Pastoral Studies at St. Mark’s National Theological Centre in Canberra, as well as Associate Professor, School of Theology, Charles Sturt University.

She also chairs the Australian Capital Territory Ministerial Advisory Council on Ageing. Her last book, Spiritual growth and care in the fourth age of life, won the 2006 Australasian Journal on Ageing (AJA) Book Award.

In the world today, the aged and their care present us with a challenge but the elderly also present us with many opportunities which we cannot leverage on as long as we see only disadvantages to growing old and only losses.

The external degeneration of the elderly is matched by inner spiritual depth and resilience. Furthermore, the big picture of life is easily captured by the elderly because of all their “letting go” experiences through the passage of time in relationships, and in what works or what doesn’t in life.

Letting go also means that they enjoy greater dependence on God. As they lose their privacy and depend on carers for all bodily needs, they let go of that last piece of pride, growing in humility and understanding of nature’s transitory.

For those who live with their families and whose basic material needs are met, their evening years can be filled with a God-given peace and depth of prayer.

Thus the young need to value what the elderly have to offer, and allow them to contribute this wisdom to the former so that all can benefit.

Schedules for the workshops:

Sunday February 28

9.00am-4.00pm: For caregivers of the elderly, and for those in pastoral ministry, especially in Small Christian Communities. At Catholic Welfare Services Auditorium (55 Waterloo St, Level 8).

Monday March 1

10.00am-12.30pm: For those in their senior years. At Church of Christ the King.

Tuesday March 2

9.00am-1.00pm: For workers in institutions such as homes for the aged, day care centres for the elderly, religious and priests. At Catholic Welfare Services Auditorium (55 Waterloo St, Level 8).

To register, contact Maria at 6488 0278 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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