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Hospice offers support groups for kids, teens
Hinsdale – Because children and teens may express grief differently than adults do, Adventist St. Thomas Hospice will offer three consecutive levels of grief support for six weeks. The first meetings are Sept. 17.

These free support groups are Tommy’s Kids (age 4-11) and Teens for Teens (age 12-17), as well as a support group for parents or guardians who want to learn how children grieve and share ideas on how to support their children and themselves during the grieving process.

“We have age-appropriate activities for each level of understanding so the whole family can get support at the same time,” said Rosie Cohen, bereavement coordinator.

Grieving children may “act out” rather than act sad or be reluctant to introduce topics that can make their parents sad. Teens may feel less alone in their grief if they can meet other teens who have also lost a significant person through death, Cohen said.

Adults need to understand how their children process grief even as they are navigating through it. Above all, each person in the support group must feel safe, Cohen said.

“For adults, it might be easy for them to say, ‘I really miss that person. They meant so much to me. I don’t know what I’m going to do without them,’” Cohen said. “Children have those same kinds of feelings even though they might be sad one minute and outside playing the next, but they often lack the verbal abilities to express it. With teens, we can be a little more upfront with them. And when they meet someone else who has lost a mother or a brother, they don’t feel quite so different.”

The support groups meet from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Sept. 17 through Oct. 22 at Adventist St. Thomas Hospice, 8230 S. Madison Street, Burr Ridge.

Group size is limited and registration is required. To register or for more information, contact Cohen at (630) 856-6993 or Rosemarie.cohen@ahss.org.

Adventist St. Thomas Hospice is part of Adventist Hinsdale Hospital. Certified by Medicare and accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, Adventist St. Thomas Hospice serves patients and families in DuPage, eastern Kane, northern Will and western Cook counties.