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THUNDER BAY, ON  ------ November 22, 2010  ----  A new support group is offering hope and healing to Hospice Northwestpeople dealing with the loss of a loved one.

The closed Grief Support Group is a partnership between the Alzheimer Society of Thunder Bay and Hospice Northwest.

“The pilot project was a way to pool resources of two organizations, to best serve the needs of our clients,” says Joan Williams, Executive Director of Hospice Northwest.
The project was such a success, the two organizations plan to continue the partnership
by offering the Grief Support Group again early next year.

One night a week for six weeks, people who have lost a spouse, a child or a sibling can
meet to share their feelings in a safe and confidential setting.
The sessions are led by Margie Uurainen, a trained social worker and the Education and
Support Facilitator with the Alzheimer Society of Thunder Bay.

“Like two snowflakes, or two grains of sand, participants may appear the same but they
are very different,” Uurainen says. “The common denominator is the fact that they are
all dealing with their grief. It’s important for them to be able to share openly without
being judged.”

Honesty and confidentiality are the guiding principles for the group.
Katherine Poulin, a volunteer with Hospice Northwest, participated in the pilot project.
She says the sessions transformed people in their grief.

“At first they were closed off,” Poulin recalls. “But through the group, they learned how
to trust and that this is a safe environment where they can share.”
Hospice Northwest will offer another Grief Support Group, February 15 to March 22.
The not-for-profit agency is looking for participants.


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