The year 2020 for the Central Okanagan Hospice Association (COHA) began as if it were a positive eye chart examination; flawlessly focused on future fundraising with acuity, precision and a healthy dose of competition in the form of our annual ‘Swinging With The Stars’ event.
From that high to the great lows of a global pandemic we knew our training and reasons to exist were now being tested to their fullest and were heart-broken when faced with the impact of lock-down knowing we had to keep family and loved ones at bay. With these realizations the generous donations of tablets allowed individuals to virtually stay connected to loved ones, as well as physicians, friends and volunteers.
The number of counselling services available increased as clients, past and present, accessed our bereavement services as the early sessions seemed to focus on reducing fear and anxiety on daily pandemic news updates before the grief could be discussed. Virtual counselling created opportunities for safe havens and deeper vulnerability to work through feelings of grief.
Family caregivers are feeling isolated so we launched weekly virtual support groups and offered an eight week caregiver education series to build confidence and resiliency in their caregiving role. We are so proud of our volunteers who remained grounded and focused on more training on how to adapt and learn the skills of relationship building over Zoom rather than physical presence.
In lieu the cancellation of our annual July Butterfly Effect, we are so proud of the launch and success of the aptly named ‘Compassion in Crisis’ campaign, and with the steady flow of financial gifts to support COHA. Our Homes for the Holidays event went virtual and a huge success in this virtual bubble we are living in.
In the spirit of giving, we were given another opportunity this year to support a young family who are experiencing “the firsts” were showered with love and kindness to bring ease and comfort this holiday season because of the generosity of our community to extend compassionate Christmas gifts.
As this year comes to a close, COVID has made us all realize our own mortality, bringing about difficult but necessary conversations regarding end-of-life wishes and we remain here for those needs.
We thank our community for continued support and building a stronger community for how we take care of the living and dying.