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Grief Awareness Day


Grief is universal. It’s something that everyone has to deal with in their life.

Often, grief is difficult to discuss. More than that, it’s difficult to rationalize. Grief is hard to allay, hard to put to rest. Sometimes it feels like it can be overpowering. It can make you question your foundation, the basic tenants of your life.

If you feel this way or have ever felt this way, know that you’re not alone. That’s the message behind Grief Awareness Day, a day that encourages open communication about grief and seeks to educate the public about facts related to the emotion.

Motivational speaker Angie Cartwright founded Grief Awareness Day in 2014, choosing August 30 for its date – her late mother’s birthday. Angie was no stranger to grief, as she experienced the death of her sister, husband and mother over the course of her life. After each loss, she says she felt the pressure to just move on.

As Sagora Senior Living’s Vice President of Resident Services, Brenda Abbott-Shultz, RN, has worked to understand the complex mechanics behind emotions like grief. Through her research and work with residents, she sees the pressure that individuals place upon themselves to move on after a loss. Often, she says, that can just make things worse.

“One of the things that people think is ‘I just need to get over this,” Brenda said. “Or other people will say ‘Gosh, it’s been six months – why are you still upset about this?’ But grief is very individualized, and some people take months to get over things and some people take years.”

Because of its individual nature, Brenda says that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to dealing with grief and loss. Pressure to move on, to ignore those feelings, can cause more issues down the line including guilt, anger and depression. That’s why it’s important to let yourself feel those emotions as you go through the process.

“There are five stages to it,” Brenda said. “Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.”

When supporting someone who has experienced a loss, Brenda’s experience has shown her that sometimes it’s best to be quiet and just listen.

“We need to meet the person where they are,” Brenda said. “Not tell them where they need to be.”

Sagora Senior Living communities provide support for residents who are experiencing grief or other emotions following a loss. Team members are trained to listen and support residents with their words and actions. They’re trained to keep an eye out for concerning behaviors that could indicate depression – behaviors like emotional detachment or isolation.

When team members notice this sort of behavior, they are able to help a resident get the help that they need to process their grief.

“We have interventions based on the level of potential depression they have about this and specialized professionals that can help them with their emotions,” she said.

Sagora Senior Living communities place an emphasis on community support groups, led by residents. Many communities have grief support groups where residents can talk about their emotions with people who can understand their feelings and lend a hand when needed.

It’s one of the many ways Sagora Senior Living is more than just a home – it’s a community.

Do you have questions? We have answers.

At Sagora Senior Living our goal is to be accessible to our residents and their families, our future associates, and our customers. To that end, we look forward to hearing from you.
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