Grief workshop coming to Airdrie
On Oct. 3, the Airdrie & District Hospice Society (ADHS) will be hosting the Alberta Hospice and Palliative Care Association’s (AHPCA) “Talking About the Tough Stuff” workshop.
The event will teach residents how to talk to their dying loved ones about their wishes after they pass, explain what palliative care is, help families to deal with the anger that comes with the death of a loved one and provide resources for those who have lost someone or have a family member with an incurable disease.
“We all hope that we will live until a ripe old age, and then die peacefully in our sleep,” said Sharon Barrette, director of AHPCA.
“But it doesn’t always happen that way. In fact, 90 per cent of us will need end-of-life care before we die. We’ve all heard the saying that ‘it takes a community to raise a child,’ well it also takes a community to help a person experience death with comfort, peace and dignity.”
Seventy per cent of people die from a chronic illness, said Barrette.
“Sharing our worries and needs with those closest to us can be one of the toughest parts of dying,” said Barrette.
“Coping with our own and other people’s distress is hard for everyone involved, and we often fear that talking about death will take away hope. Even professional staff struggle with talking about dying.”
The workshop will be conducted by Sharon Iverson, a registered nurse (RN) with 25 years of experience.
“We hear over and over again that this is the best course people have ever taken,” said Barrette, adding the course is open to the general public and health-care professionals.
“It is a real opportunity to better understand what death and dying is all about. The course will help people better support the community, friends and family.”
She said people tend to avoid talking about death and dying because it is an uncomfortable or scary topic, but we all experience it.
“The less experience we have with someone passing away, the more difficult and scary it is,” she said.
“You need to speak with your family member before a medical crisis. Good palliative care is everyone’s responsibility.”
The AHPCA has been presenting these workshops to residents in rural Alberta communities for three years.
Michele Gray, RN and vice chair of the ADHS, said rural residents in smaller communities deal with death and dying differently than their urban neighbours.
“Airdrie and area needs education on grief and bereavement,” she said.
“The resources are there in Calgary but not everyone can drive in or wants to drive into the city. We are growing and it is time for us to stand on our own feet and provide this education and resources to local people.”
Barrette said Iversen worked with the ADHS to customize the workshop for Airdrie.
Statistics indicate the training will have a ripple effect in Airdrie, as each participant practices and shares their new skills and takes their training to at least five others.
The session will be held Oct. 3 at Genesis Place in the Rotary Room and the $55 fee includes lunch.
For more information and to register, visit www.ahpca.ca or call the Airdrie & District Hospice Society at 403-880-0424.
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