The holidays can be challenging for people who have a terminally ill loved one. When that older friend or family member is in hospice, there may be something "off" about the joyous season.
Fortunately, there are ways that family members can still celebrate the season with the seniors in their lives who are in hospice, including plenty of resources available for helping to navigate this time of year.
Hospice centers care about their patients
When an elderly loved one goes into hospice care, he is going to a place that will ensure his care and comfort. While it may feel hard for some family members to think of their relative not being home for the holidays, it is important for them to remember that it is because that person was in need of special care and was able to find a welcoming place to receive it.
Many hospice centers will gladly help its residents celebrate their respective holidays. Decorations, games and festive meals can help patients feel connected to holiday celebrations. Family members can also assist in decorate their loved one's room with personal trappings that will remind them of their home and make them to feel more connected to the family while they are away.
Community events are important for helping to keep ailing seniors engaged. Many volunteer groups, schools and other community organizations will visit seniors in nursing homes and hospice centers for the holidays to sing, host pageants and deliver gifts.
While the season may not feel the same when a family member is in hospice, remembering that he is in a safe and comforting place can help provide some peace for the situation.
Working with hospice staff
It's not just the patients who can rely on hospice staff for comfort during this difficult time, either. Family members trying to cope with the reality of the situation can use the experience and guidance of hospice staff to learn how they can help process this change in their family dynamic.
Staff members will be able to suggest visiting times that will coincide with the facility's holiday activities so that they can be experienced together, like special dinners or tree-lighting ceremonies. They can also connect people to support groups that can supply additional support for families trying to navigate the holidays with an ill loved one. Finding a community that can provide support and guidance can be important for helping some cope.
Hospice workers can also aid family members manage the other arrangements and responsibilities that they may need to make during this time, as well as providing options for counseling or other means of support.
Above all, people who are facing a holiday with a relative in hospice should remember that they are not alone in this process. Some people are also experiencing it for the first time this year, and others have experienced it in years past. This community can offer valuable insight and guidance, and hospice staff are more than eager to help take care of families during this time.