Like many other events during the pandemic, AHPCA’s Spring 2021 Roadshow looked different than most years. Typically, the AHPCA Roadshow brings a single topic into five communities around Alberta. This year, the Roadshow went online and brought six different topics into the homes of Albertans over three weeks.
Thank you for your organization and excellent work putting together the Roadshow. I attended all sessions and was thrilled with the quality and depth of knowledge that was provided.Attendee
After over one year of uncertainty, stress, isolation, loss of normalcy, loss of control and loss of life, the Roadshow posed the question — What impact has one year of grief had on us?
The 2021 Spring Roadshow launched on May 5, 2021, during National Hospice Palliative Care Week with its first session on Complicated Pandemic Grief. Presenters Blair Collins, a grief counselor, and Darrin Parkin, a spiritual care clinician, looked at how we now need to acknowledge many more types of losses when helping people with their grief journeys. In addition to a death, people are grieving so many more pandemic-related losses that are ongoing.
Leaving the session, my takeaway is the impact of the FEAR of COVID. Also, the anger that we see in the community is simply part of peoples’ grief. This knowledge makes it easier to deal with folks.Attendee
I enjoyed the concrete solutions that were offered.Attendee
The next evening, on May 6, 2021, presenter Rick Bergh, a bereavement educator, walked us through This is Your Brain on Grief. Participants learned what is happening in our brains when we are in grief, what contributes to healthy living and good brain health and how to mitigate the impact of cortisol levels in our brains after a loss. Rick also taught six non-pharmacological interventions to start using today.
I appreciated learning the concrete aspects of hormones that are at play in our brain, and the logical things we can do non-pharmacologically to overcome them. Superb!!!Attendee
On May 12, 2021, Darrin Parkin and Blair Collins were back to tackle a difficult topic: Normalizing Pandemic Caregiver Grief. Through his experience of providing spiritual care in a hospital that faced several serious COVID outbreaks both internally and in the community, Darrin shared his insight into what caregivers have gone through over the past year.
I appreciated the definition of the many types of grief we have faced during the pandemic and importance of accepting them without judgement. Especially the part about how what we carry inside does long-term harm to us. Find a confidante and unburden yourself!!Attendee
I liked the reinforcement that we are not alone in how we are feeling and grieving during this pandemic. Both speakers are always fantastic. What a great resource for the AHPCA!Attendee
On May 13, 2021, the Roadshow ventured into new territory with The Isolated Brain and What It Needs, presented by Erica Phare-Bergh, a choir director for those with memory loss. We learned about the strong evidence of the beneficial effects of social singing on our brains, and then we sang!
This session was interesting. I like that there were details as to why and how music/singing increases brain activity etc.Attendee
How singing together impacts those with dementia — this was huge learning for me.Attendee
I felt so happy during and after the session. … Absolutely fabulous and engaging! … This was the best Roadshow yet. I can tell that all those positive hormones have been activated. … This session was excellent, uplifting, and impactful!!Multiple Attendees
In the final week, on May 19, 2021, the topic was How the Pandemic Has Challenged Our Idea of a Good Death, presented by Blair Collins and Darrin Parkin. We looked at some of the cultural myths surrounding the idea of a “good death” and examined COVID’s impact on end-of-life experiences.
My takeaway is that the notion of a good death has been impacted for all of those dying during this pandemic, not just for those dying of COVID. Also, that the person who is dying gets to decide what is important, not the caregiver.Attendee
On May 20, 2021, the Roadshow wrapped up with its final session Death Ed. – Grief & Loss Education presented by Jeremy Allen. Participants were walked through where loss lives, how to better serve ourselves in times of loss, which leads to us being better prepared to walk alongside others in grief.
My learning from this session was Me First! What does it look like when we create space for ourselves? How we often use the excuses, “I am too busy,” or “I don’t have time,” and how these excuses end up taking their toll. The need to create checkpoints for maintaining our physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. And, “Have you created space for yourself?”Attendee
AHPCA sincerely thanks each person who attended the 2021 Spring Roadshow. We are particularly grateful to the Alberta government for its support of these valuable workshops in unusual times. Thank you to our wonderful presenters for providing informative content and new learning opportunities to our audience. Thank you, Blair Collins, Darrin Parkin, Rick Bergh, Erica Phare-Bergh and Jeremy Allen, for helping to create this unique version of the AHPCA Roadshow!