Often, the term ‘Spirituality’ is associated with religion. This can certainly be the case, however at Community Gateway, we believe that a person’s spirituality is more holistic than religion alone – and it is extrinsically tied to how and why we provide our services.
A persons sense of spirituality can be linked to their upbringing, their interests, their cultural background, values and even their hobbies. All of these things make up every complex and wonderful human being, and by finding out these things about our clients, we can truly understand them and therefore provide better care.
One of our remarkable clients, Lyn has been accessing Community Gateway’s services for about three years. After being diagnosed with cancer, she became reliant on a wheelchair and had to change the way she lived and cared for her own growing family.
Lyn’s Support Coordinator Melanie Miller says, “Initially, our services focussed on what Lyn needed – the things that would benefit her in the short and long term, but weren’t necessarily things that sparked joy.” These included, redesigning and rebuilding her kitchen to allow for greater accessibility as well as upgrading her equipment.
“So, we started making a list of things that Lyn might want to do – purely for herself,“ says Melanie.
Prior to being in a wheelchair and reliant on others for things like transport, Lyn was artistic and active. She had a love of charcoal drawing, crochet and enjoyed spending time in her garden with her family and grandchildren.
As a result (prior to Covid-19 restrictions), Community Gateway had arranged for an art teacher to run tutorials in Lyn’s home and are also in the early stages of helping to create a succulent garden for Lyn.
Lyn says, “I just love succulent plants. The staff at Community Gateway have been donating clippings and succulent plants to me to get my garden started – it’s just lovely and I cannot wait to get out there and relax among my lovely plants.”
Melanie Miller adds, “At Community Gateway, one of the big things that we want to do is get to know our clients so that we’re not just providing an impersonal service to them. We want to get to know who they are, what makes them happy, what brings them joy, as well as provide for the needs that they have.
“With Lyn, we’re seeing that happen. By focusing on Lyn’s spirituality in addition to her needs, we’re seeing her get the opportunities and experiences that she may not have had in the past, and it’s just so wonderful to see.”