Information for

Spirituality and Aging: Research & Public Education

Spirituality and Aging is housed at Conrad Grebel University College. It is an integral component of the Schlegel-University of Waterloo Research Institute for Aging,

Spirituality and Aging’s two-fold purpose is to promote research in the field of spirituality and aging to enhance the well-being of older adults, and to be a resource to students, clergy, chaplains, caregivers, professionals, and the general public, through university classes, public lectures, and workshops.

Spirituality is at the core of human experience. If we are committed to assisting all people to age well, then facilitating the growth, development, and expression of an individual’s spirituality is integral to the aging journey.

Care worker talking to elderly woman.


This program area promotes research and education in the field of spirituality that will benefit the lives of current and incoming residents and staff in retirement and long-term care. The goal is to provide spiritual care programs that will support the diverse needs of the growing aging population. An available resource that has emerged from this research is Multi-faith practices: Guidelines for caregivers.

Public Education

An annual public lecture is often held in November.

On Saturday January 21, 2017 the Schlegel-UW RIA, Waterloo Wellington Hospice, and the Anabaptist Learning Workshop are co-sponsoring a day long seminar entitled Befriending Death.  More information and registration here.

University Course

TS 689 ‘Aging and the Spiritual Life’, will be offered Winter 2018. This is a combined undergraduate and graduate course that attracts students across the age spectrum, enabling engagement across generations, cultures and faith perspectives. 

Contact:  Jane Kuepfer, Schlegel Specialist in Spirituality and Aging
Conrad Grebel University College
140 Westmount Rd. N.
Waterloo, ON N2L 3G6
519-885-0220 x24232

The Schlegel Specialist in Spirituality and Aging provides leadership to the RIA Spiritual Care for Seniors Program, creating and collecting a body of research, providing training and resources for long term care staff and educating family members and others on issues of spirituality and aging. She is available for speaking engagements, consulting and training, and will be teaching ‘Aging and the Spiritual Life’.

Our History

The joint CGUC/RIA initiative in Spirituality and Aging was made possible through the leadership of Ron and Barb Schlegel and what was then Oakwood Retirement Communities. At the time Ron noted that the connection to Conrad Grebel brought him full circle: “In our first nursing home facility in London 40 years ago, the chaplain was Ralph Lebold, who went on to serve as president at Conrad Grebel.”

Schlegel is concerned that the spiritual component of seniors be adequately understood and resourced, in long-term care facilities, congregations and communities.

From 2005-2016 the Spirituality and Aging program was coordinated by Marianne Mellinger. In 2016, Jane Kuepfer was appointed Schlegel Specialist in Spirituality and Aging.

2006 - Ron Schlegel, President of Oakwood Retirement Communities, Marianne Mellinger, Spirituality and Aging program, and Mike Sharrett, Director of Research Institute for Aging
2006 - Ron Schlegel, President of Oakwood Retirement Communities, Marianne Mellinger, Spirituality and Aging program, and Mike Sharratt, Director of Research Institute for Aging.