A Forever Friends Bereavement Support Café has been launched at Erskine Edinburgh to help families cope with the loss of a loved one.
The first Café was held in the home in Gilmerton on Sunday 30th June with future meetings planned once a month. The idea behind the Café is to provide a friendly and relaxed atmosphere where the relatives of former residents can spend time with current residents and their relatives, sharing memories, stories and experiences.
Two Edinburgh Home staff, House Manager Ashley Kvasiliene and Clinical Lead Siobhan Hamilton, attended training in Palliative Care with Macmillian Cancer Support before completing further training on Bereavement Support. Through this they identified that bereavement support could be enhanced in the Care Sector particularly with the families of people living with dementia or a terminal illness where the grieving process can begin from diagnosis.
Ashley said: “Grief is a very personal experience. Losing someone you love can turn your world upside down but talking about it can help. Our thought for setting up the Café style approach was that it is informal yet facilitates conversation in a relaxed familiar environment with people who are going through similar journeys.
“Our Café will mean something different for each individual who attends. It can be a space to share fond memories of a loved one; to talk to others who have suffered their own loss and can appreciate something of your experience and to find mutual support and encouragement when you most need it. Our Café is not a form of counselling but we can help people to gain these services if required.”
Siobhan said: “Families are a big part of our extended community here at Erskine and this Café allows us to continue supporting our families after their loved one has passed. Family members have commented on how reassuring it is to be greeted by a familiar face they can share their worries and feelings with. Families often visit their loved one at Erskine up to three or four times a week over a number of years, so it is lovely they can now return as welcomed old friends to share stories. The first Café proved popular and we hope it will grow and develop over time as a much needed source of support.”
The Forever Friends Bereavement Support Café will next meet on Saturday 3rd August between 12 and 2pm in The Robertson Trust Room within Erskine Edinburgh. Relatives of current and past residents are very welcome to attend.