The Healthy End of Life Project (HELP) Ottawa aims to understand the needs of those living with frailty, chronic or life-limiting illness, those nearing the end of life, caregivers, and the bereaved. Further, HELP Ottawa aspires to create compassionate communities that empower members to feel comfortable and confident while attending to those needs (e.g. checking in on an isolated neighbour, offering support to someone who recently lost a loved one, asking a community member for assistance while caring for an aging parent). Emily Davison and Heather McGrath, Community Facilitators for HELP at Orleans United Church (OUC), have been busy having conversations with OUC members discussing support programs and services available through the church. In doing so, they discovered how this faith-community acts as a source of spiritual growth, learning, and social connection for an ever-growing congregation.
HELP is a community-based research project investigating peoples’ experiences with frailty, illness, end of life, caregiving, and grieving. We are delighted to share some preliminary findings. Based community interviews and focus groups, it is apparent OUC has great leadership and is a compassionate and supportive community. However, there is still room for growth. People shared they would like to improve their skills in reaching out to others, so we hope to offer these monthly “hints” to help you feel more confident offering, asking for, and accepting help.
Insights from the Healthy End of Life Project (HELP) Ottawa
People often have difficulty asking for help. This may be because: they are too exhausted or overwhelmed to reach out, and/or they do not want to bother anyone or be considered a burden on others.
What can you (and the broader community) do:
Rather than asking someone what you can do, we suggest offering something tangible. Make sure what you offer is something you feel comfortable doing, have time for, and works with the other person’s schedule. These offerings do not need to be grand or long-term; simple gestures can be very helpful and meaningful.
“I am going to the store. I can pick up your groceries and drop them off today, or whenever works for you.”
“I’m free Monday and Thursday afternoons to sit with your loved one so you can take time for yourself (e.g. shower, go for a walk, get a haircut, read a book, etc.). Does one of those days work for you?”
By offering concrete and practical care, we assure those in need are seen, thought of, and supported.