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For release: October 25, 2013

Amy Kilgore 330.344.6014,
Kelly Ward-Smith 330.344.1681,

Hospice of VNS holds free classes dealing with holiday grief
Free programs supports the bereaved in our community

Those who have experienced the death of a loved one know that the holiday season can be extremely stressful and sometimes heartbreaking. The Akron General Hospice of Visiting Nurse Service (VNS) will hold special free support groups this holiday season to help adults and children cope with holiday grief. All classes meet at the Hospice of VNS Care Center, 3358 Ridgewood Road, Copley.

"Kids and Holiday Grief” will be offered November 8 and December 13 from 5–7 p.m. Support for children ages 5-11 who have experienced a significant loss, such as a parent, sibling or grandparent. A corresponding informational group is offered for parents/caregivers who wish to learn more about what to expect from a grieving child.

“Reducing Holiday Stress” will be offered November 13 from 2–3:30 p.m. or 6–7:30 p.m. Discuss stress-related concerns for the bereaved during the holiday season. Learn how to balance the reality of grief along with the expectations of the holidays. Hear about options for coping with this potentially difficult time of the year.

“Grief, Loss and Holiday Pain” will be offered December 11 from 2–3:30 p.m. or 6–7:30 p.m. The grieving process can be especially difficult during special holidays or dates of significance. This session will provide tips to help you through the holiday season. It will also offer tips for family and friends when dealing with a bereaved person.

“After the Holidays… Now What?” will be offered January 8, 2014, from 2–3:30 p.m. or 6–7:30 p.m. Focus on overcoming the low feelings sometimes experienced after major holidays and other special days.

The classes are open to all members of the community at no charge. Enrollment is limited, so please call to reserve a place. To register, or for more information on these or other Hospice of VNS bereavement support programs or individual grief counseling, please call 330-668-4662 or 800-335-1455, ext. 4662.

If your church or business would like a presentation of “Reducing Holiday Stress” at your location, please call 330-668-4662 or 800-335-1455, ext. 4662.

Hospice of VNS offers a few tips to help grieving persons survive the holidays:
  • If the thought of what you used to do during a holiday is overwhelming, cut back on your activities. Make new plans that are not so involved.
  • Say “no” if you do not want to do something. If the other person is not pleased, that is all right for now.
  • Acknowledge your loved one in some formal manner. Purposely noting your loved one may help everyone recognize and admit to the person’s importance.
  • Be kind to yourself after your holidays. Make plans to do something special — maybe lunch with a friend or a day trip.
  • Be realistic. There are going to be difficult moments. That’s OK!
  • Make lists of what you decide you are going to do. Try to stay focused.
About Akron General Hospice of Visiting Nurse Service (VNS)
Akron General Hospice of Visiting Nurse Service is a nonprofit agency providing compassionate support for individuals facing serious or life-limiting illnesses and their families. Care is provided in-home, at nursing facilities or assisted living residences, and at the area's first freestanding Hospice Care Center, the renowned Justin T. Rogers Care Center on Ridgewood Road in Copley Township. Hospice of VNS is an affiliate of Visiting Nurse Service and Affiliates (comprised of Advanced Infusion Services, Hospice of VNS, VNS Equipment & Supplies and Visiting Nurse Service). A member of the Akron General Health System, VNSA serves Medina, Portage, Stark, Summit and Wayne counties. For more information, visit

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