August 2017 | Wesley Hospice

Grieving Tips for Your Family

When you have a loved one who is approaching the end of their life, helping them to remain comfortable and pain free is often all that you can do. For many family members, they throw themselves into the role of caretaker and try not to think about how they will grieve. While dwelling on the final days is not necessary, it can be helpful to learn some grieving tips to help your family when the time comes.

Our hospice service not only offers quality hospice care for our patients, but we also want to make sure that the entire family is able to find peace and comfort once their loved one is gone. Understanding the grieving process can help you through this difficult time.

While every individual will go through the grieving process in their own unique way, there are some aspects of grief that are universal. For example, almost everyone experiences a sense of shock or numbness following the loss of a loved one. This is a difficult time and family care should include allowing individuals to process this grief in their own way.

There is no set time period that one must meet in order to progress through the grieving process. Grieving will take as long as necessary and is a very personal and individual matter. Many people find it helpful to discuss their grief with a close friend or even a family therapist, while others find comfort in quiet contemplation.

It can be very helpful to try and focus on pleasant memories rather, than dwelling on things that you could have done differently. Others might tell you to cheer up, or that it’s time to move on, but you need to grieve in your own way. During the grieving process, allow yourself to have your feelings.  It’s also important to keep in mind that you’ll likely experience setbacks. Understanding and accepting that these feelings are normal is key to finding peace in this difficult time.

Grief and Counseling Recommendations

Having a loved one in hospice care can certainly be an emotional time. It’s hard to accept that they’re nearing the end of their life, and seeing them struggle can bring up many painful thoughts. One of the tips that our service often offers is for family members get support to handle the stress they’re likely to feel.

Whether it’s grief counseling to help you work through your feelings, or you choose to take some time to reflect on the good memories, it’s important to let yourself grieve in your own way. Counseling can help you maintain a level of perspective and may help you identify some of the things you’re feeling; however, there is no one set pattern for grieving that’s going to fit every individual.

A support group is an excellent way to surround yourself with others who are experiencing a similar loss. It can be lonely trying to handle the death of a loved one, but with a good support group, you’ll have the opportunity to discuss your feelings. And, you may even pick up some strategies that others have used to manage their grief. Again, no two people are going to grieve in the same way, but it can be helpful to hear how others are coping and to use some of their tips to help you through your grieving process.

Even before the death of your loved one, a support group can provide the emotional support you need at this very trying time. Talking with others, and taking a moment away from the challenges of caring for someone you love, can give you a new perspective. Take each day as it comes and look for tips on how to manage stress.

Family Tips for Preparing for Hospice Care

An important part of hospice care is helping patients and families develop an understanding of hospice and how it can help them meet the challenges of this difficult time. It is extremely important to understand how each member of the hospice team will work together to develop a comprehensive end of life plan that meets the individual needs of the patient. Whether it’s visits from clergy, managing pain or providing some much needed emotional support, our trained hospice staff are dedicated to ensuring each patient gets the highest quality care possible.

End of life decisions can be difficult for most people; however, it’s important that these discussions take place. When you have a loved one who has been referred for hospice care, it’s important for the patient as well as the family to prepare for this time. For example, examining personal beliefs can help you make decisions regarding EOL care.

Other helpful tips that can make hospice easier for patients and their family members include learning about the services that are available and making sure you reach out for the help you need. Many times, hospice care takes place in the patient’s home. The primary caregiver is often overwhelmed with managing patient care as well as their own feelings of sadness and loss. We can help with patient care by providing caregiver relief and patient companionship.

When preparing for hospice care, be sure to keep in mind that there will be times when family care is also necessary. It’s important to make sure that you take care of yourself. Consider stress relievers such as yoga, or a support group. Additionally, it can be helpful to make use of routine home care by the experienced hospice team to help the family manage during the final weeks and days of a loved one’s life. Maintaining a routine as much as possible can help you feel more in control.

Helpful Family Stress Relievers

When you have a loved one in hospice care, stress can become a normal part of life for the entire family. Our hospice service specializes in meeting the emotional, spiritual and medical needs of your loved one, but we also know that compassionate family care means helping the entire family through this difficult time.

Some effective tips for handling stress can help a family take care of themselves, while also meeting the needs of their loved one in their final days. Simple stress relievers, such as taking some much needed time to engage in some soothing activities, can significantly lower your stress level. For example, many people find that yoga can help them feel more relaxed and in control; even when faced with the stress of having a loved one in hospice care.

Other excellent family stress relievers include simply taking a break. When your loved one is sleeping or napping, enjoy a game of cards, watch a movie or do something other than dealing with the issues surrounding the care and comfort of your loved one. Share stories, talk about a fun family vacation or even grab a nap of your own.

One of the best tips we can share with the families we serve is to establish a healthy routine. This time is difficult enough, so make sure you’re eating well and getting exercise on a daily basis. It’s all too easy to get wrapped up in caring for your loved one, but you will be much more relaxed when you’re also taking some time to care for yourself.

It’s common to become overwhelmed when helping a loved one through their final days, but taking care of your own physical and emotional needs is essential to your own wellbeing.