(Alexandria, VA., Monday, November 20, 2017) - The holidays are quickly approaching, and while many people look forward to yearly traditions, gatherings with family and friends and the general good feelings associated with the season, some people dread the holidays.
For those who have lost a loved one either recently or long ago, the holidays may emphasize their grief and rekindle feelings of loss. Often, friends and family members are unsure how to act or what to say to support their grieving loved one during the holidays.
November is National Hospice and Palliative Care Month and programs across the country are reaching out to raise awareness about the many services they offer the community, which includes bereavement support. Hospices are valuable community resources that often help people who are struggling with grief and loss. Hospices provide bereavement support to the families they serve; many offer specialized programs to help the bereaved cope with the holidays.
It is also helpful to understand the different ways you can show support to those who are grieving during the holidays.
Hospice is not a place, but is high-quality care that enables patients and families to focus on living as fully as possible despite a life-limiting illness. Palliative care brings this holistic model of care to people earlier in the course of a serious illness.
Every year, nearly 1.4 million people living with a life-limiting illness receive care from hospices in America. Although it may be difficult to discuss, the holiday season provides an opportunity to talk with loved ones about advance care planning. The holidays are often a time of year when many family members are together making it an ideal time to share their health care wishes long before the family is ever faced with a medical crisis.
Every adult should complete an advance directive and appoint a health care proxy, should one ever be needed. This can greatly reduce stress for families if they are faced with choices that might include hospice or if a loved one suffers from a serious injury. During the holidays, when many of us exchange gifts, an advance directive is something that can give you and your family peace of mind, one of the most valuable gifts you can give those you love. For more information, visit https://www.nhpco.org/.