Bereavement Supporter Project 2017-2021

Project Update July 2018

The project has been introduced across 7 ExtraCare locations since it started in January 2017 and below are some achievements to date:

  • 25 resident Bereavement Supporter volunteers who offer listening support to their peers following a loss or bereavement, have been recruited and trained across four retirement villages
  • 218 residents and123 staff have attended ‘bereavement information and awareness sessions’
  • Quote from staff member following Information Session: “Very helpful because everyone will go through this pain and now know how to deal with it.”
  • There have been over 70 contacts where a resident has accessed support from a Bereavement Supporter 
  • 76 ExtraCare staff have undertaken one day training with Cruse
  • 33 Dementia Friends have been created within Cruse  

Millie and George are residents at Pannel Croft village in Birmingham and have both trained as Bereavement Supporters for the project, to help those residents who experience bereavement. 

Millie: Living in a village with over 55 year olds means that bereavement, and how people cope with it, can’t be ignored. You always sympathise with the person and give your condolences, but you don’t always know how the person is feeling. I don’t want to tread on toes and say the wrong thing so when the Cruse project started and they were recruiting Bereavement Supporter volunteers in the village I applied. 

The training was very good. It helped with knowing the right things to say and it helped learning to support the person and not take over. The volunteers have also found that bereavement isn’t just about the death, it’s the knock-on effect that brings up wider issues like finance, relationships.

The training helps with this as it provides a network of signposting so the volunteer can point the bereaved person in the right direction.

Bereavement is part of life. It’s not going away. Death is still a taboo subject but is something that has to be talked about. Death knows no age so you need to talk about it now. 

George: Over the years I’ve had close friends and well-loved family members die. These experiences have motivated me to give support in a manner that can ease distress. Panel Croft is my home – a place that offers me quality care and shelter.

Cruse training has given me what I regard as added value to enable me to deliver and become a more informed bereavement supporter in my village. 

Image: L to R Christine Williams, George Gordon, Eve Wilson and Millie Gobbinsingh

Booklet - helping bereaved people with dementia 

The Bereaved by Dementia project has produced the following booklet to help bereaved people living with dementia and those who care for them. Click on the leaflet to read.

Bereavement Supporter Project 2017-2021- Introduction

Extracare logoThe Bereavement Supporter Project is a five year partnership project between Cruse and The ExtraCare Charitable Trust, funded by the Big Lottery Fund. The project aims to improve bereavement support for older people, including those with dementia, in ExtraCare retirement villages and housing schemes. 

The ExtraCare Charitable Trust is a registered charity which operates retirement villages and housing schemes and supports 4,400 older people including those living with dementia. Delivery will be rolled out to all ExtraCare sites in England over the 5 year project, locations can be found here: www.extracare.org.uk/villages-and-schemes.    

How will the project help?

This project will address a gap in bereavement care to older people by taking a preventative approach to ensuring that older bereaved people, including those with early stage dementia, will have the support they need at the time they need it in order to stay active, engaged and involved with their communities. 

The Bereavement Supporter project will support ExtraCare residents by:

  • Raising awareness of how bereavement affects older people’s mental and physical health
  • Improving access to support for bereaved older people in sheltered and retirement accommodation 
  • Encouraging self-help and peer support in order to reduce loneliness and social isolation 
  • Contributing to safeguarding and promotion of long term mental and physical health.

What will the project deliver?

Over the next five years the project will:

  • Deliver Bereavement information and awareness sessions for ExtraCare residents
  • Recruit, train and deploy Bereavement Supporters who will provide early support, information and signposting to residents
  • Provide Bereavement Support training sessions for ExtraCare staff members
  • Recruit, train and deploy new Cruse Bereavement Volunteers in order to provide specialist longer term support to residents who are assessed as needing it
  • Increase the number of ExtraCare residents who are volunteering and providing peer support to other bereaved residents
  • Develop a new model of working with older bereaved people with early stage dementia or dementia-related conditions

For more information about this project contact the Project Manager Eve Wilson, Eve.Wilson@cruse.org.uk, telephone 07496 922385.

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