The winter holiday season can present special challenges, especially to individuals experiencing grief and loss. This is particularly relevant in 2020 as our holiday traditions may not be realized as COVID-19 limits our interactions with loved ones.
As part of our "Leading the Way for YOU" educational video speaker series, Executive Director of Spiritual Life, Rev. West, a trained counselor and ordained minister, shares why L.E.S.S. is more during the holidays. While the holidays may not be the most wonderful time of year for some, they still can be meaningful. He shares a sense of hope through topics such as:
- Addressing loss, grief, expectations and emotional challenges
- Anticipating grief and turning it into a positive
- Identifying and dealing with depleting relationships
- Finding coping techniques like support systems, resources and spirituality
- Celebrating the holiday season with a loved one with dementia
Note: these resources are available for our not-for-profit sister community, Ecumenical Retirement Community as well.
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Executive Director of Spiritual Life, the Rev. Howard L. West, III; M.Ed., M.Div., finds his work at Country Meadows and Ecumenical Retirement Community extremely satisfying. "I enjoy helping our residents tap into or develop their faith and spirituality and find something meaningful that gives them direction and strength to deal with the challenges of aging," he says. West believes spirituality is one dimension of life that continues to grow even as physical capabilities diminish. He feels especially called to provide ministry to seniors as a way of showing appreciation for older family members who helped raise him following his mother’s death when he was in his early teens. In his role, West provides leadership and supervision to promote the spiritual well-being of all residents by honoring each person’s individual spirituality and religious traditions. He oversees a team of chaplains, and develops Spiritual Life services including religious services, pastoral care, end-of-life care and various spiritual life groups. He encourages his team to celebrate varied religious traditions and lead observances of these varied customs. In addition, he preaches at campuses’ religious services and provides pastoral care to co-workers coping with grief or loss at work or personal challenges at home.