Firm offers practical help for time of grief
A new business aims to help grieving relatives cope with the loss of a loved one.
Joanne MacPhee has set up Sympathetic Solutions — a company designed to give practical assistance to individuals and families who may find difficulty coping with paperwork after a bereavement.
Ms MacPhee said: “When someone close to us dies, emotions naturally run high and, regardless of how practical and sensible we normally are, most of us find it difficult to cope with even the smallest tasks.”
Ms MacPhee added that changes in society meant that families were often spread around the world, while increasing lifespans meant elderly spouses were often unable to cope on their own after the death of their husband or wife.
She said: “Having had their partner take care of everything all these years, many left behind simply do not know where to begin.”
Sympathetic Solutions offers a range of services, including arranging meetings with lawyers to deal with estate matters and changing accounts, as well as more personal assistance like clearing homes of the possessions of a loved one.
Ms MacPhee stressed that the company was not a grief counselling service or offering legal or estate advice.
She said: “Our approach is sympathetic and respectful but it is also very task-orientated and efficient.
“You have a problem, we are there to fix it and get whatever needs done, done.”
Ms MacPhee added that the service could prove useful for children living overseas who have to deal with a death on the island.
She said: “Traditionally, we have automatically expected a family member or friend to step forward in time of need, put their own lives on hold and take care of everything.
“That is our culture, how we were raised and it is lovely when that happens, but it is no longer always practical.
“Today, many families are separated by oceans not just miles and we all live more frenetic lives with jobs, children and our own responsibilities.
“Now there is someone you can call to get as little or as much done help as you need.”
Ms MacPhee added: “We offer a turnkey solution for family members living overseas that makes it virtually effortless for them to leave everything in their hands and when it is time to return we can ensure their time is not wasted by pre-arranging important meetings and making certain any paperwork is in order in advance of their return.”
Ms MacPhee, who also runs Communications Solutions, has 25 years of organisational management experience, largely in the financial-services industry.
She said the new venture was also prepared to work with people who wanted the reassurance of having advance preparations made in the event of their death.
Ms MacPhee explained: “It may seem morbid to some, but there is a growing trend towards planning your own service, memorial and even wake.
“And if called upon to do so, we are more than happy to make certain our clients’ final wishes are carried out to the smallest detail.”
Ms MacPhee said, as part of launch preparations, she had consulted with all of the island’s funeral homes and with Age Concern, whose members are entitled to discounts, as well as creating a database of legal specialists in the field of wills and probate.
She added: “There is always the expectation that there is someone left behind, but I’ve been told repeatedly by funeral homes that there are elderly people left to cope after the death of their spouse.”
Ms MacPhee said she hoped to grow the company and hire both full and part-time staff and get to a point where she can step back and devote herself to her other business interests.
She said: “But this is early days and for now it is important we focus on building the brand and getting the word out there about our services.”
For further information, call 538-1824, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.ssbermuda.net