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Friends in Bereavement Support Group, sponsored by Careforce

Friends in Bereavement Logo Snip

SUPPORT GROUP OVERVIEW

Careforce Health Services is proud to sponsor the Kentville, Berwick, and Bridgetown Chapters of the Friends in Bereavement Support Group!

The Friends in Bereavement support groups have been meeting in the Annapolis Valley since February 1993. Since that time, the support groups have helped hundreds of local residents find support, understanding, information, friendship, and confidentiality as they grieve the death of a loved one. Other supporting partners include the Valley Hospice Foundation, RCMP Seniors’ Safety Programs and Mental Health. For further information contact Jennifer Longley at 681-8239 or friendsinbereavement@gmail.com.

Friends in Bereavement Kentville - Sponsored by Careforce
Meets the 1st & 3rd Tuesdays each month from 2 to 4 pm at the Kentville Baptist Church (parking lot entrance to the left)

Friends in Bereavement Berwick - Sponsored by Careforce
Meets the 1st & 3rd Tuesdays each month from 10 am to 12 noon at the Western Kings Memorial Health Centre – VON Room (please call the facilitator at the contact information below for further details).

Friends in Bereavement Bridgetown - Sponsored by Careforce
Meets the 2nd & 4th Tuesdays each month from 2 to 4 pm at the Bridgetown Baptist Church (back entrance)


TESTIMONIALS FROM GROUP MEMBERS - CLICK HERE


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS about FRIENDS IN BEREAVEMENT

Who is eligible to attend the Friends in Bereavement Group?

Although there are many sources of grief in our lives, the focus of the support group is grief as a result of the death, or anticipated death, of a loved one. Men and women of any age attend from areas throughout the Annapolis Valley. For some, their loss has been very recent while for others the need for support has been felt after a much longer period of time, sometimes years. They are grieving the death or expected death of a parent, spouse/partner, child, sibling, grandparent, other relative or friend; any significant relationship.

How often do I have to attend?

Meetings are twice a month and it is recommended that you attend as regularly as possible, although it is not required.

What is the atmosphere like at the support group?

You will meet a caring group of people who will not pry or assume that they "know just how you feel". Each person in the group has suffered the loss through death of someone dear to them. Meetings are structured for the first hour and a quarter and then informal for the last 45 minutes, the latter part providing an opportunity to enjoy some light refreshments and share or ask questions one-on-one or simply get to know other members better.

Do I have to share my story, or can I just listen?

You will need to share your first name and the general area in which you live. You are encouraged to share your story when you feel ready but until then are asked only the relationship to you of the person who has died.

Is the support group confidential?

Confidentiality is a requirement for all!! While those who attend a support group are to be commended for taking this positive step, they are the only ones with any right to tell others that they have chosen to do this. Names, personal information and anything shared MUST remain within the group.

Who is the facilitator?

Jennifer Longley has been facilitating the groups for over 20 years. She holds a Master of Divinity degree from Acadia Divinity College where she undertook further studies in counselling, grief & loss and small group formation in addition to practicums served in palliative care and chemotherapy. She has worked in churches as well as in an interfaith context with the Canadian Forces. In the community she works with family caregivers and in palliative care. Widowed many years ago she has walked the grief journey herself and seen its impact on her own family. Should Jennifer have to be absent, a retired psychologist facilitates the group.

Can I accompany a friend – or be accompanied by a friend?

Yes, you may, but there will be the same insistence upon confidentiality for anyone attending the meeting. Generally someone coming to support the grieving person would attend only once. If a person needs assistance once he/she has arrived at the meeting, group members are most willing to help.

I know someone who I think would benefit from this support group, but they might be resistant. Would you meet with them one-on-one to talk about the support group?

The facilitator can be reached by phone to answer any questions. Friends and family members can encourage someone to attend meetings but the decision needs to be theirs.

Is the support group religious in nature?

It is not. The church in which the meetings are held provides space to the group as part of its community outreach but nothing of a religious nature is presented at the meetings. However, group members may wish to share their own feelings about what has been helpful or not helpful to them as part of their journey which may include personal religious beliefs. All will be respected as long as they are not imposed upon anyone else.

Is there a charge for attending meetings?

No, there is not. People contribute to "coffee/tea" costs *if* they wish to help in that way but will never be charged a fee or asked for money.

Will anyone from the group contact me?

There are two members of the group who call people to remind them of upcoming meetings but only if someone is agreeable to their doing this.  Nobody else in the group will call you unless you choose to share your contact information with them.

Are the meetings always just about grief?

Grief is the common experience which has brought people together but from which other needs arise. Occasionally there may be special speakers or topics of interest addressed which have been requested by members of the group. Some examples from past years are safety issues when living alone, legal issues, handling stress, living a healthy lifestyle etc.  At times the group may choose to enjoy a meal together at a local restaurant or hold a meeting at a member's home but always it is a group decision.


Helpful Resources

The Mourner's Bill of Rights

Beatitudes for Those Who Comfort

Anticipatory Grief Symptoms

Ambiguous Loss and Grief in Dementia: A Resource for Families

When You're Grieving Through the Holidays

Helping Yourself Heal Through the Holiday Season