Hospice Care Helps to Celebrate Life
It’s important to view hospice care as a celebration of life rather than an anticipation of death. If your loved one is in hospice in San Francisco and elsewhere this new year, we want to enlighten you with some tips on how end-of-life care helps to celebrate the sanctity of life.
Quality of Life
First off, what is hospice care? This is a special kind of care focusing on the quality of life for individuals and their caregivers who are experiencing an advanced, life-limiting illness, says the American Cancer Society. It offers compassionate care for those in the last phases of an incurable disease so that the person can live as fully and comfortably as possible. While the hospice philosophy accepts death as being the final stage of life, it also affirms life.
It’s very easy to define our days by the fears, worries, and challenges that tend to consume our thoughts and energy. Instead, it’s time to focus on the beauty and joy that can be found as our loved one nears the end of life. Use this opportunity to spend each day thinking about the good, the grace, and the gratifying opportunity we have before us. Even as we face death, life is worth living.
Ways to Celebrate
There are many ways you can celebrate each day. It doesn’t have to be anything grand. Just enough to mark the moment and give thanks for what you have. You can:
- Read a new book together
- Learn how to bake a new dish
- Take a free class
- Try out meditation, yoga, or tai chi
- Start a blog or journal
- Play a childhood game together
- Reminisce over old photos
- Call an old friend and talk about the good ole days
- Listen to music you loved when you were young
- Get exercise, whether walking, dancing, riding a bike, or jogging
- Express appreciation by thanking someone
- Send someone special a note
- Write out your blessings
- Donate to a local charity
- Pet a cat or dog
- Take a walk in the rain
- Enjoy the scents and sights of a botanical garden
- Go stargazing
- Plant a tree or flower
- Watch the sunset or sunrise
- Reconnect with an old friend, mentor, or teacher
How Hospice Care Helps
Many people mistakenly think of hospice as a place, but it’s really more of a holistic approach of care that brings comfort and dignity to the individual as well as their family. All parties are likely exhausted from waging a battle against terminal illness. Entering hospice care is like stepping off the battlefield to spend their remaining time amongst close family and friends in the comfort of their home. Instead of being in a clinical setting with alarms going off, machines beeping and nurses rushing in and out, hospice care at home (or even in a designated facility) can provide a warm, supportive environment that is most welcomed at this juncture.
This time of respite gives the person plenty of time to spend with family while making necessary preparations for the end-of-life journey, points out Our Life Celebrations. Pain relief is more than just getting rid of physical pain. It’s also about alleviating emotional, social, spiritual, psychological, and existential pain that can consume us when confronting the end of our lives. Centuries ago, the term “hospice” used to refer to a shelter to take in exhausted travelers. It wasn’t until 1967 that the first hospice as we know it opened in London to provide pain relief to dying patients.
It’s this philosophy of care, this desire to “shelter” dying people from pain, that continues to this day.
The hospice care team is made up of many professionals and volunteers, such as doctors, nurses, social workers, chaplains, and pharmacists. They all work together to support the individual through daily tasks, pain management, spiritual enlightenment, emotional support, hygiene, and so much more. But every day is an opportunity for celebrating life. Sharing stories, having heart-to-heart conversations, laughing about old times, talking about the unknown, and taking each day as it comes — this is what hospice is about.
It’s also a time to make amends, make plans, and review a life lived well. This is a time of thoughtful goodbyes, gaining closure, and preparing for the end-of-life journey. The interdisciplinary team within hospice care can help and guide families through it all.
As you start a new year with your loved one and family, it’s important to not lose sight of what hospice care is: a celebration of life, a time of peace, and a thoughtful awareness of what is to come.
Contact Pathways Home Health and Hospice
Here at Pathways Home Health and Hospice, we want to wish you and your family a peaceful holiday and a safe new year! Contact us at 888-978-1306 to learn how our hospice care program can help you and your family in 2022.