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Captain Mavis Salt

Captain Mavis Salt is the Research and Resource Officer for Ageing Australia, Aged Care Plus. Mavis was a Fellows recipient in 2012, where she utilised her scholarship to travel to Scotland to attend the fifth International Conference on Ageing and Spirituality.

What inspired you to apply for the Fellows Program?
The Fellows Program began in 2011. There was great variety in the scope of applications which were successful and this gave me more confidence in applying myself in 2012. At the time of applying I was working as Chaplain/Mission Director within Aged Care Plus at Pacific Lodge Aged Care Plus Centre in Dee Why and undertaking further study of Masters in Ageing & Pastoral Care.  This study course is provided through The Centre for Pastoral Care & Ageing in Canberra which is affiliated with St Mark’s Theological College at Charles Sturt University. The Centre (CAPS) is a not for profit multi-disciplinary research, education and policy development leader for ageing and related ethical issues.  I had attended local CAPS conferences in 2008, 2010 and would again in 2012 as they are bi-annual and of great value in understanding the broadening scope and issues of ageing and ministering to older people. I am always keen to continue my own learning as well as sharing information with others.

In 2012, there was early notification of an International Conference on Ageing & Spirituality to be held in July 2013, in Edinburgh, Scotland.  I thought it would be beneficial for me to attend the conference and then also take the opportunity of visiting and networking with other Salvation Army providers in the aged care field in UK and Canada and then share my learnings within the greater Salvation Army, Australia.

How has the Fellows Program allowed you to overcome barriers, and achieve your educational/professional goals? 
I haven’t really had barriers to overcome. As a Salvation Army Officer, I was given permission and financial support from an education grant within TSA and Aged Care Plus to undertake my Master’s course. Further to this though, receiving the Fellows Scholarship enabled me to attend the conference and have valuable networking experiences in the U.K. and Canada. An evolving achievement due to contacts made at the conference is development and cementing of professional relationships within the greater Salvation Army which is vital for the Global response to the ageing society.  I am hoping that an international discussion group regarding the ageing population for The Salvation Army is to take place this year.

What have you been able to achieve/implement into your workplace as a result of the Fellows Program? 
Achievements since 2012/13 have been underpinned by knowledge gained through the Master’s course and enhanced by attendance and networking at the conference. Presentation of a concurrent paper on Spiritual Care Assessment and Planning in Edinburgh 2013 was followed by a similar presentation at a conference in Shanghai later that year. Also, since that time the spiritual care assessment and planning process has been established in each Aged Care Plus residential centre and I have written the policy and training materials for Aged care Plus. I also worked together with Care Services in cementing the spiritual care material into the I Care system.

I am a trainer at Booth College, teaching in the Diploma of Chaplaincy on Facilitating Empowerment of Older People and Providing Support to people living with Dementia. I have been involved in further training of our aged care Chaplains regarding the ageing population, dementia, spiritual care assessment and self-care. I provide teaching support in the orientation of new Chaplains into aged care. A further important event was a presentation in 2014 to the Territorial Policy & Mission Council of The Salvation Army regarding the ageing population and potential Salvation Army response. In early 2015 I was heavily involved in organising the inaugural Salvation Army conference regarding our Australian ageing society.

How have you been able to positively influence the work and mission of The Salvation Army through the Fellows Program? 
Other presentations to the Divisional team of the Greater West and three Corps regarding the ageing population and The Salvation Army response took place in 2015. A further advantage from the 2013 visit to the UK was the opportunity of participating in a pilot of 3 Godly Play stories specifically written for The Salvation Army’s perspective. This is particularly valuable as a teaching resource for those with dementia and I have organised some information days for both aged care Chaplains and other Salvation Army personnel about Godly Play. I have also participated in Godly Play training so that I can tell the stories and would like to expand this further throughout the territory. The other exciting opportunities opening up are involvement in piloting the National Guidelines for Spiritual Care in Residential Care, input to the Aged Care Channel around spiritual care, providing feedback for a training resource for pastoral care volunteers and also piloting a spiritual care training pack in the orientation of new staff for the Pastoral and Spiritual Care of Older People group. There are also new areas of research Aged Care Plus will be participating in this year through contacts made through the Master’s study and another International Spiritual Care Conference held in Los Angeles in 2015.

How have you personally benefitted from this opportunity?
Participation in the conference, forming new professional relationships as well as Salvation Army relationships and then the opportunity to meet with established friends was inspiring. Having lived in London for 2 years in the late eighties, it was inspiring to worship again at what was our home Corps in Croydon and experience spiritual refreshment. This was also a time of reinforcing the direction and purpose for ministry within The Salvation Army and the field of ageing and particularly care of the frail aged.

Do you have any further plans to study in the near future? 
No further formal study plans at this point. Will be involved in research projects, ongoing teaching and would like to attend a conference later in the year from the perspective of church ministry with newly retired people.

What advice would you give others who are interested in applying for a Fellows Program?
Take the opportunity of applying for the Fellows scholarship. Be careful to include all the relevant information and be adventurous in looking at new opportunities which would be personally beneficial as well as assisting ministry in The Salvation Army.

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The Salvation Army acknowledges the Traditional Owners of country throughout Australia and recognises their continuing connection to land, waters and community. We pay our respects to them and their cultures; and to elders both past and present.