For those on hospice, or with a loved one on hospice, the holidays can feel very different. Some holiday traditions will look different from before, or some may no longer be carried out. Because of this, many hospice patients can feel isolated around the holidays. We would like to take a moment to share some things you can do with a loved one to keep the holiday spirit up and make them feel included.
1. Bring The Events To Them:
When someone is on hospice they may be in a medical facility, assisted living community, or in their own home. Consider bringing the holidays to them by bringing a few family members to the hospice facility for a scheduled visit or invite family to their home so that they may find comfort being surrounded by family. Most hospice patients cannot travel, so bringing the holidays to them is key! Always be sure to check with your loved ones first, in case they are uncomfortable when surrounded by too many people due to health concerns. Hospices may also limit the number of visitors, especially during a pandemic, so reaching out and scheduling ahead is key.
2. Holiday Home Activities:
Assist your loved one with some favorite holiday activities from home. Some activities could be helping them decorate their space, writing holiday cards and letters to friends and family, or watching holidays films. Something even as simple as listening to their favorite holiday music can be very therapeutic. Activities that can be done from home and aren’t too strenuous are always the best options!
3. Bake Them Treats:
Baking treats is a holiday tradition in many homes and one that many hospice patients have trouble taking part in. Consider doing some holiday baking in their home while they can enjoy your presence, as well as join in if they are able. Even if they’re unable to eat much themselves, the smell of fresh-baked goods may be comforting for them. This is also a great time to share recipes that have been passed down or even try out some new ideas together. If they don’t currently live at home, bring the baked goods to them and enough to share. Top It off by eating the treats together and visiting!
4. Reminisce Together:
Simply being together while sharing stories and experiences is one of the best ways to bond with your loved one. Spend some time looking through old photos or photo albums, share past holiday memories or discuss favorite traditions to carry on for years to come. This is also a good time for your loved one to share stories you may have not heard before or for other family members to hear stories they aren’t yet familiar with.
This holiday season, consider bringing the holidays to your loved ones on hospice, creating as many memories as possible while they remain comfortable. Remember to adjust your expectations and allow time for rest. Sometimes simply being present can make all the difference. We hope these ideas help you spread holiday cheer and help your loved ones not feel like they’re missing out on the festivities.