Cortes Island Death Caring Collective is looking to expand its services and hire a staff member as the local island’s population ages.

Collective Co-founder Margaret Verschuur says that more community members are needing help to navigate the myriad of health care options available for addressing physical or mental health needs, or both. She adds that those needs can be due to physical limitations, loss of a loved one, or ageing in place.

To that end, the collective is expanding its services and hiring a Compassionate Communities Coordinator to help with death care on the island. Verschurr says the position is funded through a grant from the BC Centre for Palliative Care and administered through the Cortes Community Health Association.

The Compassionate Communities model, from which the collective is taking a lead, is based on recent British research indicating that community members fare better when they have help accessing services and are able to continue participating within their community.

The Cortes Island Death Caring Collective was formed in 2018 and works to support “death as part of life” in the community, according to its website. Direct support is available to people nearing the end of life and their loved ones. As well, Verschuur says its email list and online community continues to grow and currently has 105 members. It posts weekly articles on a local website regarding death and dying and also hosts workshops.

Find out more about the Compassionate Communities project by listening to the CKTZ News interview below with Margaret Verschuur: