Four Ways to Bring Holiday Cheer to a Loved One in Hospice


The holiday season is typically a joyous time! However, for some, the holidays can be a more difficult time of year, particularly for those faced with health issues.  For individuals in hospice, the holidays can bring feelings of isolation or the longing for days when they were able to get out and participate in family holiday activities. Bringing holiday cheer to a loved one in hospice can be a simple act for you, but it may provide a huge boost to a hospice patient’s morale.

If you have a loved one in hospice care this holiday season, think about what they enjoyed most about the holidays and consider some of these activities.

Help Decorate

It just doesn't feel like the holidays without the festive decorations. This is true for many patients in hospice, even when they're unable to decorate themselves. By stringing up some holiday lights you'll not only brighten up your loved one's space but their spirits too. Hanging garland, holiday banners on the walls and propping up holiday cards on the tables and bringing in symbols of the holidays, like a miniature fake Christmas tree, can help bring a sense of normalcy to the season.

Bring Holiday Events and Traditions to Them

Community and togetherness account for so much of what makes the holidays special, and can make hospice care feel less isolating. Try to plan family gatherings this holiday season to help them feel more included. Consider having friends and family to come by caroling to the person's home, room, or even contact local volunteer groups and choirs. Many of them regularly sing for the sick and elderly around the holidays.

Share Past Holiday Memories

Help your loved one reflect on the best holiday memories from years past. Fill a photo album with mementos from their previous holiday celebrations, including photographs from the person's life, old holiday cards and still pictures from classic holiday movies. Arrange family mementos, like Christmas stockings or holiday books, where your loved one can reach them.

Prepare Holiday Favorites

Virtually everyone has certain foods that are special to eat around the holidays. Prepare a few of those favorites to share with your loved one, but get guidance from your loved one's doctor and hospice staff first; many hospice patients have little appetite and lose the ability to chew and digest food like they once did. You should always find ways to make adjustments.

For instance, you might decide to create a gingerbread smoothie in place of the person's favorite gingerbread cookies, or you could make the traditional mashed potatoes a little thinner than normal. However, tasting these favorite foods will give your loved one pleasure, and may even motivate them to eat more.

Considering hospice care for yourself or a loved one is never easy, but when no other option seems appropriate, hospice is often the right decision. For more information about hospice care, and Absolute Hospice philosophy, contact our Clinical Liaison at 330-498-8075.