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Closure and Remembering

The subject of closure is often a difficult topic for many people to bring up let alone discuss, however Vacenti specialises in caring for people during their end of life. It’s an important topic that deserves a sensitive and thoughtful approach. Today’s article highlights the need for closure through ritual, not just for families and other residents but for staff who care for our residents.

Rituals can be just one act or a combination of actions. At Vacenti, we honour our residents’ lives with various rituals that families, staff and residents can be part of. Some of our rituals include gathering to; Share stories, lighting candles, laying stones or planting gardens and formalised events such as funerals and memorial services. Most importantly it is the acceptance and understanding of what has happened to gain a sense of closure and for others to know they are not alone. It is also a time to celebrate an individual’s life and demonstrate the importance of that person’s presence.

Research has shown the importance of a goodbye through ritual to reduce the risk of burnout and compassion fatigue for carers. Offering an outlet for grief and reflection through rituals benefits staff, residents and families who have expressed how meaningful and rewarding the experience becomes. Likewise, those who were not given the opportunity to express their feelings reported feeling depressed and experiencing emotional numbing, along with physical symptoms which included headaches, stomach aches and insomnia.

Therefore, setting time aside for meaningful rituals facilitates the bereavement process. A necessary journey for those who work in this industry, the families of our Residents and our residents who may have lost a husband, wife, or friend. Even when individuals are not aware of the deep feelings held, rituals allow them to get in touch with emotions and provide a safe space to express them. Grief is not an illness. It is a normal reaction to loss and change. People have individual experiences of grief and there is no ‘right way to grieve. There is also no right timeframe for grieving.

Recently a memorial service was held at Portofino. It was a beautiful, sincere, and emotionally wonderful tribute to those who called Vacenti Home. Since then, Marebello, created a memorial garden. Families, staff, and fellow residents can leave stones with a name in the memorial garden and can say goodbye. The feedback has been positive from families who attended the memorial service, they were able to thank the staff for remembering their loved ones. By attending these memorial services, residents now know they will not be forgotten and know how they will be remembered. The closure is important. Vacenti provides dignified care to residents, extending to the time we have to say goodbye to them. We support families, fellow residents and staff to say goodbye and navigate the grieving process. We care like family.