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Bereavement and an Ageing Population in the Workplace

Bereavement and an Ageing Population in the Workplace

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Living longer As we live longer and healthier lives, the age at which people experience a close bereavement is increasing.   This means that more of us aren’t experiencing the grief of losing someone close to us until we’re in our late 40s or in our 50s. What’s the significance of this in the workplace?  More line managers will be older before they know what it feels like to go through a bereavement.  Even if they have personal experience of loss, it doesn’t mean they will know how to support others as the way we deal with grief can vary from person to person. Managing those bereaved I was 50 when my mother died.  I had never experienced a close loss before, yet had been managing teams since I was in…
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Grief and Anxiety

Grief and Anxiety

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Heightened anxiety It is quite common for people to feel an increased sense of anxiety following a bereavement.  I have only once experienced it in a way I recall as being particularly bad.  It followed a sudden and very unexpected bereavement and the ensuing shock that came with it.  A couple of other things happened out of the blue too: another car collided with mine; and an important piece of information disappeared from a proposal I was writing. I was spooked by the realisation that I couldn’t control things around me.  I felt anxious doing everyday things like driving down the road a short distance. This wasn’t at all like me. I had an interview for a job and had a panic attack on the train on the journey to it. …
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Supporting depression

Supporting depression

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Experiencing loss  I bumped into a friend recently whose wife had lost her job a few months ago.  As we chatted it became clear that she was depressed. She was grieving.  It made me wonder what advice I could give to my friend about how best to support his wife.    We know that ‘depression’ quite often forms part of a person’s grieving process and, as such, is a natural way of coming to terms with loss. It is not the same as clinical depression and I feel it is a shame we haven’t the vocabulary to express it in a way that doesn’t more clearly delineate this.  In my mind, the ‘depression’ experienced in grief is a period of sadness, specifically associated with loss, which is to be expected.  It does need to be watched…
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Beatification

Beatification

Experience
This post is from Bereavement Coach Associate Siobhan Clarke who discusses how and why we should be more open about a person when they've died. Don’t speak ill of the dead The Latin phrase is "De mortuis nihil nisi bonum" - "Of the dead, [say] nothing but good" - a phrase coined by Chilon of Sparta ca.600 BC. It’s amazing what Google can tell you. All I know is that I was raised in an Irish Catholic household where you most certainly did not speak ill of the dead, indeed if you spoke of the dead at all you swiftly followed mere mention of their name with a speedy sign of the cross and a muttered "May they rest in peace". People that were generally acknowledged to be utter twits while among the living underwent a transformation…
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Compassionate support needs to be ongoing

Compassionate support needs to be ongoing

Readers Stories
Our latest reader's story highlights what can happen when managers only go through the motions of dealing with a bereaved member of staff and reminds us that compassionate support needs to be ongoing. My Dad My father died in July 2016 aged 94. I was 55 at the time. My Mum died in 1997. I am an only child. The 12 years before my father’s dementia were wonderful years as our father/daughter relationship was adult to adult and very respectful, open, understanding and close. Just like a father/daughter relationship should be. We were always close but I will never forget those significant 12 years. However, Dad was diagnosed with dementia in 2010. He and I lived very well with it because we did not make a song and dance of…
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What does a progressive bereavement policy look like?

What does a progressive bereavement policy look like?

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What does a progressive bereavement policy look like? Following my blog post on why I think bereavement policies are flawed, we have been asked what a good bereavement policy would look like. We have been surprised by how many organisations don’t have a specific bereavement policy. They may have reference to bereavement in their compassionate leave policy, if they have one. Many won’t have reviewed their policy for a while. Given bereavement affects so many people each year, it’s vital to consider the impact on your workforce and provide clear guidance to staff. Below are some pointers to get people started. You need to think about what suits your organisation and what would work best for it, to reflect the culture and ethos towards employee well-being. It should, regardless of…
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An uncomfortable truth

An uncomfortable truth

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An uncomfortable truth According to a survey by YouGov on behalf of Co-op Funeralcare, 18 million of us are uncomfortable talking about death, 5 million are uncomfortable talking about our own death and 13 million people are uncomfortable but are willing to talk about it. Many people are uncomfortable Regardless of how the data was extrapolated, that’s a lot of people who are uncomfortable with talking about death.  It’s no wonder then that the bereaved often come across people that don’t know what to say to them.  In fact, the survey reports that one-seventh of the bereaved said that nobody knew what to say to them.  I have some sympathy with those who become mute, some things are so awful it is hard to know what words could possibly help.…
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Time heals all wounds?

Time heals all wounds?

Experience
In this post, we hear thoughts about grieving from The Bereavement Coach Associate Siobhan Clarke and how a few carefully chosen words can go a long way. Time heals all wounds? Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about death, bereavement and grief. That sounds awful doesn’t it? But having joined forces with The Bereavement Coach, and having experienced the warmth, comfort and positivity of running our first Grief Awareness Workshop I’m here to tell you that it isn’t awful. It can be a sad conversation, a hard conversation but it can also be a funny one, even a joyful one at times. And it’s a conversation we need to have. Death is part of life, we will all experience the loss of a loved one at some point in our…
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Let’s talk about suicide

Let’s talk about suicide

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Early experience of suicide When I was 13, a relative took his own life.  I was too young then to appreciate the full impact of losing someone in this manner. Sadly, I now know too many friends and colleagues who have been affected by bereavement due to suicide. Suicide is very often a tragic waste of a life.  It is different to a loss where someone is ill or dies due to circumstances such as an accident.  The individual has chosen to take their own life.  The loved ones grieving for that individual can face an even more complex response to grief than those of us who lose people because of reasons such as ill health. Emotional responses to suicide Firstly, there is often massive guilt associated with the loss,…
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