How to make the festive season special for family or friends receiving hospice care

The festive season is traditionally a time of togetherness with those closest to us, but it is easy to forget about the beauty of this time of the year when one has a family member or close friend who is receiving hospice care.

Of course, this doesn’t have to be the case, and there are a myriad of ways to make the festive season special – for you and for your family member. Whether they are receiving palliative care in an in-patient facility or at home, spreading the Christmas cheer will help to lift everyone’s spirit, and end the year with a profound sense of gratitude.

If your loved one is receiving home care

When a family member is receiving palliative care at home, it is important to take note of the following:

  • If guests are coming over, keep in mind that decorations, activities and guest accommodation should not interfere with the aspects and equipment related to your loved one’s care.
  • Ask your relative what Christmas traditions they would like to have incorporated. Find out what their favourite Christmas rituals, songs and movies are, and try to make these a part of your celebrations this year.
  • Remember that your loved one might not be able to keep up with the pace of the silly season – try not overwhelm or over-stimulate them with too many guests or activities at once.

If your loved one is receiving in-patient care

Not having a relative join the rest of the family can by trying for everyone involved, but you can make this time special for a loved one, even when they’re not at home.

  • Christmas is known for the culinary delights associated with it. Ask your loved one what Christmas dishes they have been craving, then prepare these and take it to them on Christmas Day.
  • Take the Christmas spirit to your loved one by putting up decorations and lights in their room – a tiny Christmas tree will literally and figuratively brighten their space.
  • Remember your loved one may not want any Christmas treats – respect that wish.

If you are unable to spend Christmas with your loved one due to Covid-19 restrictions

This year has been challenging for all of us, and indeed, many festive celebrations will be disrupted due to Covid-19. If you are unable to pay your loved one a visit this year, make them feel loved by sending a gift or care package, letting them know that you are with them in spirit. Ensure that you give them a call on Christmas Day to wish them well.

Not being able to be close to our nearest and dearest can be tough on everyone. If you are feeling low at the prospect of not seeing your family member this year, try to incorporate their favourite traditions into your own celebrations to ensure that they are still an integral part of your Christmas festivities.