Compassionate Ottawa supports locals through the process of death and dying

Compassionate Ottawa a local organization that is working to change the way we think about death and dying. Since 2016, they have been helping residents of the greater Ottawa area to be confident in managing their own grief while helping families to live well and to process grief and death in a healthy way.

Compassionate Ottawa has created a model that focuses on the fact that death isn’t always a medical event but is meant to be spent with loved ones.

Dying is an expected life transition that happens in all families. The social model of care emphasizes the importance of community by supporting family members, educators, co-workers and faith-based groups with knowledge and skills regarding the end of life. Compassionate Ottawa encourages families to sit down and have a conversation about their futures, and clearly communicate last wishes and the path they would like to take in the hopes of changing the culture of dying.

Compassionate Ottawa visits and works with schools, workplaces and faith communities to spread their message. While working with two French school boards, a set of tools and resources were created to assist teachers help students who have experienced loss in their families. The goal is to help students so their grief does not negatively affect their health and their academic performance. Compassionate Ottawa also aims to provide employers with information on how to deal with death in the workplace and recognizing the challenges that employees may face, to enhance the wellness of the work community. Faith communities can offer a sense of comfort to their members during a death and many places of worship have approached Compassionate Ottawa with their support. Compassionate Ottawa strives to increase their understanding about faith communities and provide a wide variety of options for their clients to make a difference in the lives of Ottawa locals.

“Compassionate Ottawa aims to make it possible for the people of Ottawa, their families and the community as a whole, to live well and to die and grieve well. Our purpose is to build the community’s capacity and confidence in order to become a  more compassionate community.  Compassionate Ottawa will deepen and broaden its work to change the culture of dying. We’ll do that through conversations, workshops and presentations, develop an approach to support caregivers whose role in our society is so important,  and continue to attract volunteers who want to be part of this social movement that demonstrates that the community has an important role in caring for those who are at the end of their lives. We are confident that over time Ottawa will become a more compassionate community,” says Monica Patten, Chair of Compassionate Ottawa. 

Compassionate Ottawa is grateful for the help of a variety of local charities and organizations who help keep them up and running. They receive financial support from the Ottawa Community Foundation, and assistance from the OutCare Foundation. They are also supported by Hulse, Playfair & McGarry, Kelly Funeral Homes, Lawson Foundation and by community donations.

Visit their website  for more information or to donate and support those in need.

Photo: K. Mitch Hodge, Jeremy Wong, Ben White, Unsplash