Archive for December 2016

Grieving During the Holiday Season: Tips for How to Cope

Posted on Dec 09, 2016

Family Christmas

The first holiday while grieving for a loved one is always the most difficult. Remember that grief doesn't start after death, but rather when you start to accept death as a looming inevitability. Understanding these key details about grief will help you cope with it through a difficult holiday season. 

If you, or a loved one, are dealing with grief this holiday season, the following tips can help you make it through. 

Be realistic

The reason that it's important to understand the difficulty of coping with grief is that it will help you set realistic expectations for yourself. You may not be able to handle all of your typical holiday responsibilities. Between cooking, shopping, traveling and other annual holiday responsibilities, it's a stressful time for everyone. When you're also coping with grief, and potentialy providing care to an ailing loved one, there's not enough time to get everything done. Don't be ashamed to ask for help, and take others up on their offers. Think about upcoming events and decide if you want to attend them, or if alternate plans should be made. 

Let loved ones help

Whether they're there to help, or just there to provide comfort and fellowship, it's important to surround yourself with family and friends. These are the people that both care about you, and understand the grief you're currently experiencing. If you need to change your typicaly holiday plans, talk to your loved ones so they can still spend time with you. Don't cancel plans and try to spend too much time alone. Also, don't be afraid to share memories about the individual who is sick or recently passed away. These memories can often be a source of comfort. 

Let yourself be emotional

Especially when you're spending time around family that may also be grieving during the holidays, it's common to try to stifle your natural emotions and grieve the same way others are. No one grieves the same way, however. Your needs will be different than even those in your own family. While some will feel sadness, or even anger during the grieving process, others will want to share memories, laugh and feel joy. Neither of these methods are wrong. Neither mean you've forgotten or dishonored the recently deceased. Let yourself grieve your own way, and let others grieve their own way. 

Don't forget self care

If your grieving process includes prolonged periods of sadness, it can also lead to an abandonment of self care. Proper hygiene can be forgotten for days at a time, and you may become more sedentary. Physical exercise can often be an anti-depressant, and sometimes getting out of the house just to run an errand can make you feel better too. Be aware of how you're feeling, however, and avoid crowded places or a hectic schedule when you start to feel overwhelmed. Avoid self-medicating with alcohol, food, or other substances. Overall, simply be aware of your own well-being and do what is best for you. 

The holidays can be difficult when you're grieving, but when you have a plan and a support group of loved ones to help you, you can enjoy them.

At Cura-HPC, we know about grief and provide bereavement support to families of our patients for 13 months following death. If you or a loved one are in need of hospice care, contact us at 800-797-3839.  

How to Provide Effective Support to Those Experiencing Grief

Posted on Dec 05, 2016

Grief Support

Hospice care extends far beyond the medical care of the patient. A number of other services that benefit both the patient themselves and their family and loved ones are available and part of a typical care plan. One of these is bereavement care, which is provided to loved ones for 13 months following the patient's death. 

Grief and mourning is a natural part of this process, but often one that is difficult not only for the individual experiencing it, but also for those around them who want to help. Here are some thoughts on grief and mourning that might help you be of service to someone close to you who has recently experienced a loved one's death. 

What you need to help someone who's grieving

It can be difficult to help a friend who is grieving for a number of reasons. You can't bring back their loved one. And the uncomfortableness of death makes it hard for many of us to find the right words or actions to bring relief. Additionally, everyone grieves and mourns differently. So what is right for one person may not be comforting to another. There are some common things that everyone needs when helping a mourning friend, however. That includes plenty of time so you can be available to them and not make them feel rushed or like an inconvenience. You'll also need patience, perserverance, flexibility, optimism, understanding, warmth, and of course, compassion. You do not have to always know the perfect thing to say, or the perfect thing to do. Just being present, not judging, and trying to identify with the mourner is enough. 

Grief doesn't only begin after death

Many associate grief with the loss of a loved one, but for many, grief begins with the anticipation of loss. That can be as early as a terminal diagnosis is given as family begin to accept death as an inevitable outcome soon to occur. This grief combines not only the emotions that come with the loss of a family member, but also the physical and mental fatigue and general overwhelmed feeling that comes with caregiving. Understanding these finer details of grief can help you offer better support to those in need. 

Keys to successful support of somone who's grieving

As mentioned, everyone grieves in different ways. Each situation will be unique, but each will share a need for these keys of support. 

To offer support, you should be present. That means both physically present and mentally present. Put everything else on hold and put your phone away in order to support the needs of the mourner. 

Be able to demonstrate that you care for the person greiving. That can be done in a variety of ways, and being able to demonstrate this using the connection the two of you share will be especially meaningful. 

Be able to honor the journey through grief. This means not being judgmental and fully supporting the ways in which the individual chooses to grieve. That includes honoring and supporting family, cultural and religious traditions that may be involved in the grieving process. 

Your ultimate goal should be to help maintain the physical health, and emotional stability of the individual grieving. 

If you have questions about hospice care, the benefits it provides to both patients and their families, or end of life care in general, please contact us at Cura-HPC- 800-797-3839.