Creating Sacred Spaces: Autonomy & Self-Expression for Aging Loved Ones


Creating Sacred Space: Autonomy and Self-Expression for Aging Loved Ones

A sacred space is any place you feel comfortable where you can escape from the stress & pressures of life. Creating a sacred space doesn’t have to be religious at all. Think oasis. It is simply a place worthy of respect that honors something important to you. Helping your aging loved create a sacred space wherever they call home can be an important for their self-expression and connection to their own stories. It could be as simple as planting fresh herbs and flowers in the backyard, drawing a hot bath, or decluttering a bedroom. Here are a few different ideas for making a sacred space:

1. Arrange a corner of a room with a favorite chair, a music player, and a favorite book.

2. Put up a grouping of family photos, or pictures of places that are important to your loved one.

3. Purchase a photo box where they can display things and images that currently inspire them.

4. If your loved ones enjoying creating, set up a box with tools for their craft and a display area to showcase their work.

5. Plant a garden in a corner of the yard or potted plants inside where they can watch them bloom.   

6. Engage the senses by including fresh flowers, a scented candle, a soothing massage, cozy textiles, enjoyable music, a favorite drink, meaningful art, etc.

As we age, we can lose our autonomy slowly over time or all at once in the instance of a debilitating illness or injury. It is crucial that individuals continue to have a space that they have control over, where they are free to enter at any time. Making decisions, no matter how small is important for the mind and the spirit. The spaces we live in should tell our story and exhibit our independence. We bring our lives into a space, and in turn that space gives us life. As Winston Churchill said, “We shape our dwellings, and afterward our dwellings shape us.” 


Published on August 12, 2013.