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The Last Stage of Human Growth is Mortality

If you missed this, the first in our series of live broadcast Ageing & Spirituality Webinars, you can purchase access, see the details below. 

On 14 October 2020, Selwyn Foundation Spiritual Director Reverend Caroline Leys and Hospice NZ Clinical Advisor Professor Rod MacLeod presented the topic ‘The Last Stage of Human Growth is Mortality’.

The focus of the topic is on older people, although there is some relevance for death from mid-life years, but not so much relevance for children and young adults.

Caroline and Rod discussed, all stages of life provide opportunity for growth and discovery, and that well engaged mortality strengthens growth. The knowledge of negotiating the personal concept of mortality, that our life as we know it is finite. This can challenge us, it can bring to the surface questions such as:

Have we made a difference?

Are we leaving a legacy?

Are we surrounded by love or are we alone?

Do we need to find reconciliation because of difficulty?

These questions are in the realm of spirituality, they are philosophical questions about meaning and purpose. However, we may be frightened of everything we know coming to an end, or it may be painful to have the honest discussion, we may find it difficult to raise the matters that concern us.

The discussion, based on the belief that those of us who work with people near the end of their life need to develop our fluency to open opportunities for these conversations, and to be ready to have the difficult conversations. Rod and Caroline explore all these factors, including: how family encounter and cope, or not, with what their elder is really needing and wanting in the last stage of their life.

To access the recorded webinar on our website, please register via the box below, or through our event page on Eventbrite.

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Kotuku Point, Great Barrier Island, facing north to Hawaiki Nui photo by Stephen Leys ©
Caroline Leys

Caroline is an Anglican Priest and is a graduate of the General Seminary, New York with an S.T.M. (Masters) of Ascetical Studies. Since ordination as priest in 1990 she has worked in private practice as a therapist, facilitator, trainer and more recently in ministry and business development. Caroline is a certified Sageing Leader for Sage-ing International.

Previously Caroline gained her Registered Nurse (Comprehensive) qualification from AIT. She is a mother and grandmother and has been married to Stephen for over 40 years.

As Director, Spiritual Care for the Selwyn Foundation, Caroline leads strategic development of the spiritual wellbeing dimension of The Selwyn Way — which is our approach to the care and wellbeing of all who connect with us. The intention is that spirituality is embedded and accessible across everything the Foundation does as a charity, in our villages, through our community services, and through education and knowledge exchange for staff, older people and their families.

Rod MacLeod MNZM, MB ChB, MMedEd, PhD, FRCGP, FAChPM

Rod Macleod was until last year, Palliative Medicine Specialist at Harbour Hospice and is now Clinical Advisor to Hospice New Zealand. He has worked in specialist palliative care for thirty years in England, New Zealand and Australia.

In 2003, he was appointed the inaugural South Link Health Professor in Palliative Care at the University of Otago, Dunedin School of Medicine and in 2013 was appointed Conjoint Professor in Palliative Care at the University of Sydney.

He has published over 120 peer-reviewed articles in the area of palliative care in national and international journals and has written over 20 book chapters for palliative care texts. He is co-Editor in Chief of the Textbook of Palliative Care published by Springer last year.

He is one of the authors of The Palliative Care Handbook which has become a freely available standard text for health care professionals in New Zealand and more recently New South Wales.

He was appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the Queen’s birthday honours in 2015.