End of Life and Bereavement Support Line

Starting from 11th April 2021

As part of the Parkinson’s Mental Health Support Hub, Parkinson’s Care and Support UK are launching a new support line specifically for those who have a loved one who is coming towards the end of their life or those who have lost a loved one with Parkinson’s. The support line will exist to provide emotional, mental and practical support around acceptance and loss as well as help one to be as best prepared as possible to deal with loss when it comes.

End of Life

Planning for the end of life of a loved one is a very sensitive and personal experience. It’s important that you and your loved one do what feels right for you, when it feels right.

However, being well informed and supported can help you to feel more in control and be confident that your loved one’s wishes are known and can be carried out.  

You will no doubt feel a range of emotions during this difficult time and some people start to grieve before they have lost their loved one. You may feel alone and helpless in this situation or even reluctant to speak to family and friends, but we want you to know that you do not have to face this alone.

The Parkinson’s End of Life and Bereavement Support Line is here for you during these difficult times. Our support staff are at the end of the phone to offer guidance and support. It is healthy and natural to express emotion – to get out your pain, anger, hurt, frustration, loneliness – rather than suppressing feelings which can ultimately make it harder to go through the grieving process.

What is bereavement?

Bereavement is the experience of losing someone important to us. It is characterised by grief, which is the process and the range of emotions we go through as we gradually adjust to the loss.

Losing someone important to us can be emotionally devastating, whether that be a partner, family member or friend. It is natural to go through a range of physical and emotional processes as we gradually come to terms with the loss. Bereavement affects everyone in different ways, and it’s possible to experience any range of emotions. There is no right or wrong way to feel. Feelings of grief can also happen because of other types of loss or changes in circumstances.

There are many events that will evoke memories of the death of someone close. Some are personal and obvious, such as a wedding anniversary or birthday, and others are more unpredictable, like a piece of music, a smell or a particular TV programme.

Anniversaries and reminders can evoke powerful memories and feelings which are distinctly personal. These days or events, which mean so much to one person, may be ordinary to others who may not understand what is happening.

Just as each relationship and each bereavement is unique, so too are the feelings evoked by reminders. For some people, anniversaries can evoke fond and happy memories, while for others they can create feelings of sadness, grief, fear, regret and anger. Another disturbing feeling that can be evoked by a reminder is guilt, guilt at what has been said or done, guilt concerning what was left unsaid, and even guilt at having forgotten or not thought about the dead person for a period of time.

There is no time limit on grief. It really does vary hugely from person to person. The time spent in a period of bereavement will be different for everybody and depends on factors such as the type of relationship, the strength of attachment or intimacy to the person who died, the situation surrounding their death, and the amount of time spent anticipating the death.

Our Service and how it can help

The death of a loved one is among the most traumatic experiences you can endure in your life. For many people, it means that their life is changed forever, sometimes in dramatic ways. The emotional turmoil of bereavement can be hard to face alone. It helps to accept that, when grieving, there are some occasions which will be very difficult and then to work out how best to manage them.

Parkinson’s Care and Support UK have developed the first ever End of Life and Bereavement Support Line specifically to help people who has a loved one that is coming to the end of their life or for those who have lost their loved one with Parkinson’s. The support line will be open from 10am-12pm and from 1pm-4pm 7 days a week. The support line does not offer a formal counselling service but is a listening and advisory service. All of our support line advisors have experience of bereavement. Everyone who contacts our End of Life and Bereavement Support Line will be offered the chance to be put in touch with a Befriender. For more information about Befriending Support, see our Befriending page.

It’s vital to understand that our support line advisors cannot take away your grief. The support line is not a ‘cure’ for the pain of bereavement. What it can do, however, is support you come to understand your own thoughts and feelings with greater clarity and to provide emotional support and practical advice to improve your wellbeing and life. Sharing your thoughts with someone who is trained to be helpful and non-judgmental can be a great way to cope with grief.

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All of our services are provided free of charge, which is why we rely on your donations to keep them going. Our work is funded entirely by the generosity of the public and so please donate today.

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