An invitation to engage with ageing

As we age, some people only see lines and grey hair rather than the stories, feelings, beliefs and experiences that make us who we are. There’s a lot we can do right now to connect with what matters to us, no matter how far away future support needs may be.

The Map of Meaning and Ageing: a self-reflection guide was developed with a group of older people and using a framework called ‘The Map of Meaning’. We successfully crowdfunded to help cover costs. We are already getting great feedback from some people who have started to read it.

“Thank you for the copy of ‘The Map of Meaning and Ageing’. I like the way the book is presented…I like the mix of print and picture/ diagram/ space to record and draw. I have been underlining phrases that I want to remember and jotting down thoughts in spaces provided as I go….I can see the book being relevant for as long as I live; reviewing what I’ve written and finding greater relevance or cause for reflection as I get older and am no longer working or my circumstances change.” – Pauline

“I first wondered, ‘Is it for me?’ as I am not really in the age group yet. After reading it I realised it is for me also. As I get older I realise I have begun to enter into old age. What an eye-opening book! So much valuing and important reflection on age in life. Even those who have imperfect English gain from this book. It has a room to express oneself in different languages. It’s concise yet there is so much to unpack. I highly recommend it.” – Meewon

Order a copy for yourself and a friend here.




The book was officially launched by Shirely McClaren (Old People’s Home for Four Year Olds) as part of an OPAN (Older Person’s Advocacy Network) webinar on 27 November 2020 (pictured).

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The Map of Meaning is an evidence-based framework to help people reflect on meaning in their lives. Lani Morris (in New Zealand), who has been involved with the application of the Map over many years, began a process with Meaningful Ageing Australia to apply it in the context of ageing. Lani spoke to over 100 people either individually or in workshops in New Zealand and Australia and drafted some content. Ilsa Hampton, CEO of Meaningful Ageing Australia, then developed a process whereby a group of older people had input into the design, layout, look and feel of the book. Ilsa wrote the final publication with this in mind, also bringing her education and reflective practice background to the task, and using Lani’s draft content. The same group of older people are now spending time with protoypes of the guide (prototype pictured).

There are many joys and challenges that come with ageing – by engaging with meaning, we give ourselves the ability to become more connected to that which sustains us. This Guide could be used by individuals or small groups. It is a fabulous birthday or Christmas gift. There are no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answers – it is a carefully designed self-reflection process that helps us understand ourselves better, and, to the extent that we want to share, it creates opportunities for others to understand us better also. Despite what the media tells us, ageing is a normal part of life and the way we experience it is greatly influenced by our inner world.

The book is attractive and easy to read. It is spiral bound with a firm cover to allow for ease of handling, and small enough to fit in a bag (A5 size). It is not too heavy to hold, despite feeling substantial. The paper is a good quality that can handle ink. The illustrations, by Sam Harmer from Ballarat, are inviting and playful.

The book is especially designed for people who are approaching, or in, the years of life when they are ready to engage with the experience of ageing. Many of the ideas are of great use in the years leading up to that time also.

Order your copy of the Map of Meaning self-reflection guide here.


Other resources

Watch our Good News Stories video about See Me. Know Me.

Connect with yourself and others – download or order our free sharing kit

Go to our sharing kits by choosing the language button below:

Aged care should go beyond everyday physical need

At Meaningful Ageing we work with organisations to include contemporary holistic care in their everyday work and help them prioritse getting to know every person.

Questions to ask aged care

Social, emotional and spiritual wellbeing are essential

It’s about what gets you out of bed in the morning and what gives you purpose through the week. Understanding each person takes time.

What’s your purpose?

Research shows the importance of staying connected later in life

The inclusion of holistic care for everyone, particularly older people, is proven to have a positive impact on your emotional wellbeing and your quality of life.

Read more about the benefits