In recognition of National Home Care and Hospice Month, In Home Solutions home care, home health and hospice agency in Brookville is sharing tips to help someone who is grieving through the holiday season.
Listen. Simply listening is a wonderful gift you can give someone who is grieving.
Encourage them to share stories about their loved one and memories.
“When someone loses a loved one, people tend to stop talking about the deceased because they don’t want to upset the person who is grieving,” said In Home Solutions Social Worker Anne Juba. “But the person grieving needs to talk about them. They need to share.”
Accept all feelings. Expressing emotions is a normal and necessary part of grieving.
“Remember there is no time-frame for grief,” said Juba. “And everyone grieves in their own way. You may see tears. You may see anger. Be patient because your loved one is working their way through a very difficult time.”
Offer hope. People can feel they aren’t strong enough to go on without a loved one or they think they will never be happy again. “Encourage them and show your support. When you believe in them and offer support, you give them strength,” said Juba. “They will find a new normal. They will find happiness again.”
Respect their needs. Some people need to spend some time alone. Respect their privacy and give them that space if they don’t want you to come over for a visit or don’t answer your calls. “Just leave encouraging messages and give them some time,” said Juba.
Avoid clichés. People feel helpless when someone they care about is grieving. Rather than saying the usual clichés “At least she didn’t suffer” or “I know how you feel,” it’s okay to say, “I don’t know what to say,” or “I’m so sorry.”
Make specific offers of help. After a death, people are overwhelmed with the tasks that still need done. Offering to help is a very good thing, but be specific.
“Instead of saying ‘How can I help you?’ make plans to help with a specific chore or task such as ‘I will bring you dinner on Thursday’ or ‘We will mow your grass for the next several weeks,’ said Juba.
Help the person get back into activities. When they seem ready, ask them to do something with you that you know they used to enjoy, such as going to a museum or a concert.
“They may need some help to get back into the interests or hobbies they used to enjoy,” said Juba. “When you invite them to do something with you, it can get them started again.”
Check on them as time passes. Stay in touch by sending emails, calling or visiting.
Be sensitive to holidays and special days. Days like birthdays, anniversaries and holidays can be a lot harder than others for someone grieving. Be sensitive of those times. “Some people grieving will want to spend time with family and friends as usual. Others may need to start new traditions. Help them to do that,” said Juba.
Grief should naturally lessen over time, but often people need the support of others who are experiencing similar feelings to help them move forward.
“We offer several grief support groups to help anyone in the community who has lost a loved one,” said Juba. “We have bereavement professionals that specialize in helping people cope with grief and loss.”
Here are In Home Solutions’ support groups that meet in the area:
3rd Wednesday of the month at 10 a.m.
Roseville Independent Chapel
3598 Route 322
Brookville, PA 15825
1st Wednesday of the month at 10:30 a.m.
133 Laurelbrooke Drive
Brookville, PA 15825
2nd Tuesday of the month at 10 a.m.
101 Maple Drive
Shippenville, PA 16254
4th Tuesday of the month at 2 p.m.
163 Ridgmont Drive
Ridgway, PA 15853
For more information about In Home Solutions hospice, please call 814-849-5913, toll-free at 1-800-972-9363 or visit www.wrc.org.
In Home Solutions is an agency of WRC Senior Services, which has been providing care and services for older adults for 125 years.