The Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging (RIA) and Conrad Grebel University College are thrilled to announce the renewal of Jane Kuepfer as Schlegel Specialist in Spirituality and Aging. Kuepfer’s research in the area of spiritual care and aging has contributed greatly to the quality of life of older adults and especially residents in senior living communities.
“Kuepfer’s work is raising awareness of the importance of spiritual well-being in the wholistic measure of the quality of living. We’re proud to see the impact of her research in Ontario and around the world,” said Tina Mah, executive director of the RIA. “We are delighted to renew her specialist position and I look forward to seeing her transformative work spread and the impact it will make on the lives of older adults and those providing care.”
In addition to her work as a researcher, Kuepfer is an experienced spiritual caregiver in long-term care (LTC) homes and the community, is a registered psychotherapist, and a spiritual director and an ordained Minister in both the Mennonite Church and United Church of Canada.
Kuepfer has led the annual Spirituality & Aging Seminar and an International Conference on Ageing and Spirituality, conducted innovative research and taught graduate courses in spirituality and aging. She also provides workshops, presentations and consultations in the community.
In 2020, Kuepfer began a qualitative study on spiritual resilience in older adults during the COVID-19 pandemic. Another ongoing study by Kuepfer involves gathering information on the provision of spiritual care in long-term care, including who is providing spiritual care, how they understand their role, what is being provided, and how that has been adapted during the COVID-19 pandemic. The goal is to work toward optimal spiritual care provision in the future and to better understand how this type of care is provided across Ontario. Keupfer’s study included 177 homes and engagement with multidisciplinary team members providing spiritual care.
Through this research, Kuepfer developed several recommendations for the future of spiritual care in LTC – a timely effort to improve the health experiences and outcomes of older adults who would benefit from more directed spiritual care.
As part of her teaching at Grebel, “Jane’s courses on spirituality and aging have given students valuable training that is necessary for serving the growing aging community,” added Troy Osborne, dean at Grebel. “Jane’s background and education have enhanced our graduate program in Theological Studies.”
“I am honoured to be renewed as the Schlegel Specialist in Spirituality and Aging,” said Kuepfer. “With this renewal, we will be able to continue important work in understanding and improving spiritual care for older adults, and strive towards providing spiritual care that is accessible and inclusive.”
Kuepfer’s appointment at the RIA and Conrad Grebel University College will continue until July 2025.