Centre provides comfort in time of loss

Penticton and District Hospice Society opens door to Bereavement Resource Centre

David Head of the Penticton and District Hospice Society and program director Kelly Phipps of the new Bereavement Resource Centre on Martin Street look over some of the material available for people in need of support services.

Finding answers to end-of-life issues and questions can be an emotional nightmare.

For many people dealing with losing or the loss of a loved one, it is a time they are most fragile, and not knowing who or where to turn to only compounds the problems.

“The whole subject of death is one we avoid at all costs until it is thrust into our face and then we don’t know how to cope,” said David Head of the Penticton and District Hospice Society. “We’re getting more and more people who are passing away and leaving families behind, so they (survivors) have to deal with grief and bereavement and they have to deal with those end-of-life problems, so the need is growing as we speak.”

To that end the society recently opened the doors to its new resource and help centre at 626 Martin St.

Although the organization is still in the development stage for the planned outreach programs it will offer in the future, Head says anything that can be done immediately to help people in their time of need will be done.

“We certainly know by our study done last year that this is something that is badly needed in this community,” he said. “Experience has shown that most everybody who goes through this feels isolated, that they feel alone, they need to deal with their grief.”

Training for the volunteers who will work in the field is expected to begin soon, with a target date of late this summer for the broad range of services to be available.

Similar programs in other cities like Kelowna, Vernon, Mission and Abbotsford are being looked at by society officials for additional ideas.

One of the most important aspects the 2011 review revealed was providing a flexible mobile service.

“A lot of people don’t want to go into a facility such as the hospice, no matter how nice it is, they want to die at home,” said Head. “So having volunteers out in the community helping people who were going through some sort of end-of-life issue is critical.

“Sometimes they just need some sort of respite, it’s got to do with them needing some sort of support in their home during the time a loved one is passing.”

That could mean just having someone sit with the person while the family member is out of the house or it could simply be a matter of having someone to talk to.

“Everyone is different,” he said. “It’s not so difficult to find out what people need. They often know exactly where their stress points are, but most can’t do it on their own.”

And while having a loved one pass away from natural causes such as age or long-term illness is difficult enough, the sudden death situations are even more difficult.

But according to Head, in either circumstance those left behind need to be helped through the period of grief with the result being positive.

“It’s not so that you get over the death of somebody, but you learn to live with it,” he said. “You don’t want to forget the person who has died, you don’t want to get them out of your mind, so what you want to do is to learn to live with it so that pain is not debilitating.”

Anyone who would like more information about the services or volunteering to assist in the various roles at the centre can contact the office at 250-490-1107.


Just Posted

What’s shaking at the museum

Kids got to learn about earthquakes Saturday at the museum.

All aboard the Summerland Christmas Express

The first train of the Summerland Christmas Express schedule.

Vees drop heartbreaker in West Kelowna, host Teddy Bear Toss Saturday

Penticton loses overtime game to West Kelowna Warriors

Apex hosting Canadian selections mogul event

Apex Freestyle Club along with some local competitors from the B.C. Freestyle Ski team are competing

Video: Update one man arrested in Okanagan Falls

The RCMP has requested the school go into lockdown

All aboard the Summerland Christmas Express

The first train of the Summerland Christmas Express schedule.

#MeToo at work: Employers play a role in fixing culture of sexual harassment

B.C. workplaces are getting ahead of being the next MeToo debacle, calling on experts to train staff

Column: Make it a green Christmas

Instead of purchasing a cuddly stuffie this year, put your money towards helping the real thing.

B.C. woman brain injured in crash as a baby gets $1.1 million in damages

Trial heard the woman was 16 months old, being carried by her mother when they were both hit

Interior Health holding immunization clinic in Vernon Saturday

IH issues list of Okanagan meningococcal immunization clinics

Court denies WestJet’s bid to toss out discrimination lawsuit of former worker

Mandalena Lewis is suing WestJet over allegations of gender-based discrimination

VIDEO: 3 months later, rescued sea lion released back into ocean

The young animal was found in Campbell River three months ago

Michaels: Big Brother has become a big letdown

“You have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide, but privacy should still have some appeal.”

Sagmoen neighbours recall alleged hammer attack

Woman was screaming outside Maple Ridge townhouse in 2013

Most Read