The holidays are typically a joyous time spent with loved ones. For some, however, holidays are a difficult time of year. Particularly those with health issues, the holidays can sometimes make them feel isolated, or leave them longing for days when they were more able to get out and do their favorite holiday activities. For individuals in hospice care, there are a number of ways to keep their spirits bright throughout the holidays. If you have a loved on in hospice care, consider some of these activities.
Bring holiday events to them
Feelings of isolation can be accentuated when an individual is unable to attend a family get-together. Whenever possible, try to plan gatherings around a hospice patient in order to include them. For some, that may mean simply moving festivities from an out-of-state location, to one in town. For others, it may mean bringing at least part of the group into the patient's home. Be sure to talk it over with your loved one to help them prepare and to find out what they're most comfortable with. They may like you to help clean up before family arrives, or request that only a small number of guests come to visit. Going through this process, even if it only results in a few minutes together, will go a long way.
Help them decorate
For many of us, it's just not the holidays without the festive decorations. This remains true for many hospice patients, even when they're unable to decorate their home themselves. Ask if your ill or elderly relatives would like help hanging lights, putting up a tree or putting up other decorations around their home. This effort makes them feel more comfortable and brings some normalcy to the season.
Write their holiday cards
Annual holiday cards being sent is an honored tradition for many. If your loved one enjoys sending out holiday cards, take some time to help them this year. You may write the cards while they dictate what to say, or you may just help with addressing envelopes. You may even just volunteer to help them read through the holiday cards they've received from others. Even if you don't offer much assistance, your time spent with a hospice patient will be greatly appreciated.
Bake them treats
Another favorite tradition might be to to prepare a favorite dessert or sweet treat. For some, you may simply offer to assist them while they bake. Others may need more help, but they'll still enjoy the smells and sounds of activity in the kitchen. Again, this can make their holidays seem more normal and familiar, which can bring great comfort.
Reminisce with them
The holidays have a way of conjuring up memories from the past. The simple gesture of sitting and talking with your loved one about past holidays and family members will have great meaning. Bring a photo album to flip through to help remember some of those favorite holiday experiences. This can be a wonderful experience for anyone, and is particularly beneficial for those suffering from dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
This holiday season, think about your loved ones currently in hospice care and consider what cherished holiday traditions they may be missing out on.
For more information about hospice care, and our philosophy at Cura-HPC, contact us at 800-797-3839.