Loneliness is not to be taken lightly.
While everyone feels lonely and socially isolated sometimes, those who live in a persistently lonely state are subject to increased levels of stress and health problems that can be downright deadly. As a hospice organization, we are aware that many of those we serve find themselves increasingly isolated as they suffer from chronic pain or become fulltime caregivers.
Our volunteer services offer “friendly visitors” who visit on a regular basis and establish ongoing relationships with patients and caregivers who have found their social connections shrinking. Support groups for the recently bereaved and for caregivers are another resource that enables those who are lonely to connect with others who are sharing their struggle, pain or loss.
Choosing the best time of day to connect with someone who is ill – when pain and symptoms are more under control – may enable those with illnesses to more comfortably interact with others. Reducing the amount of time, while emphasizing the importance and desire to continue seeing loved ones, can be a better option for visits.
Direct person-to-person connections are invaluable, but some who are lonely find regular connections by texting, Facebook messaging or use of other social forums helps them stay in touch. Online support groups can be validating and offer encouragement from others who have special insights and suggestions for how to overcome isolation.
If you are concerned for someone who appears to be lonely, find a way to include them in your life. Invite them along on an errand or a walk. Include them in gatherings of family or friends. Call to check in on them and express your concern. By reaching out to them, you can expand your own social network and give strength to someone who needs your support.
Loneliness is often a normal part of the grief experience. If you are a grieving person struggling with loneliness, we have grief support options that can help. Hospice of Central Ohio offers bereavement care to anyone living in our service area, regardless of his/her affiliation with our hospice program. All services are free of charge to the community. If you would like to schedule an appointment to speak to a member of our bereavement services team, please contact Maria Johnson at 740.788.1474.
Grief can set in at the most inconvenient of times.
During a business meeting, all it took was one look at your coworker’s butterfly mug, and you’re remembering your mother giving you the nickname “Butterfly." You choke back tears, hoping no one notices.
You’re out with your family at the park and see the same pine tree that sheltered you with your father while reading together. The memory brings a wave of grief that immediately drains you.
Not everyone you know may understand these experiences. Thanks to digital podcasts, it’s easy to access conversations with others sharing grief situations similar to yours – from a comfortable distance.
Give a listen to these podcasts covering various grief topics:
What’s Your Grief
This podcast is produced by two mental health professionals who have both lost a parent. They cover a wide range of grief topics including loneliness in grief, parenting while grieving, going back to school after a death, and more. Find them all here.
Hospice of Central Ohio: Listen and Learn
Yes, we have a podcast! Our Listen and Learn podcast is volunteer-driven covering topics about end of life, spiritual care, grief, and more. One of our topics is supporting someone who is grieving. Find our podcast here..
NPR Stories About Grief
Did you know NPR has a website section called Stories About Grief? If you saw the viral video about the bond this 81-year-old man and young girl formed after his wife’s death, you’ll want to hear the podcast here.
Have you ever had dreams about a deceased loved one? You’re not alone. Grief Dreams Podcast talks about these dreams and other subjects tying into grief. Listen to their topics here.
Grief Out Loud
The Dougy Center’s Grief Out Loud podcast talks about grief stories and support surrounding children and families. Find out more here.
Are you ready to talk about your grief with our professionals? Contact our bereavement center by clicking here.
The holiday season with traditions, celebrations and gatherings with family and friends is a landscape of painful landmines for those struggling with the death of a loved one. Supporting someone who is grieving during the holidays can be the most important gift you give this holiday season. The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization offers ten suggestions for how you can really support someone who is experiencing grief.
1. Support their choice in how to handle the holidays. Some wish to follow traditions; others choose to avoid customs of the past and do something new. Let them know that whatever they choose is “right” for them.
2. Help with decorating or holiday baking, which can be overwhelming for someone who is grieving.
3. Help with holiday shopping. Share catalogs or online shopping sites that may be helpful.
4. Invite them to join you and your family during the holidays as your guest for a religious service or a holiday meal.
5. Invite them to volunteer with you during the holidays. Doing something for someone else, such as helping at a food pantry or other charity, may help someone who is grieving feel better about the holidays.
6. Donate a gift or money in memory of the person’s loved one. Remind the person that his or her loved one is not forgotten.
7. Don’t expect someone to be “over it, ” and ready to move on. What’s most important is to give the person hope that, eventually, he or she will enjoy the holidays again.
8. Be a good listener. Active listening is important to helping someone cope with grief and loss.
9. Remind them you are thinking of them and the loved one who died. Visits, cards and phone calls speak volumes about how much you care.
10. Remember them after the holidays. Sometimes the post-holiday period can prove to be even more difficult. Checking in after the holidays to see how the person is doing is also important.
If you or someone you know could benefit from grief counseling, please contact Maria Johnson at 740- 788- 1474 or email@example.com.
The holiday season can be challenging to those who are grieving the loss of someone close. Holiday rituals and traditions are important symbols of security and family bonds. Because of this, holidays can be both a reminder of the loss of a loved one, as well as a reminder of special, pleasant memories shared with that person.
For those who are grieving, painful feelings during the holidays are normal. Rather than place unrealistic expectations on themselves to do things the way they always have, grievers should lower expectations for themselves. While it may feel insincere if you try to force feelings of happiness and joy, do allow yourself to have fun. Loss teaches us more than anything about the preciousness of life and not to take it for granted.
We can also allow the holidays to be opportunities for memory, legacy, honor, connection, and healing. Expressing feelings and revisiting memories can be part of the healing process. Some suggestions for honoring lost loved ones might include:
- Draw pictures or make cards of favorite holiday memories with the deceased.
- Create a special ornament to hang on the tree or doorway.
- Write a holiday letter to the deceased and place it in a special place either wrapped as a present under the tree or tied with a bow and placed next to their picture.
- Place a picture of the deceased at the dinner table with a candle so they are part of the holiday feast.
- Cook a favorite dish or dessert the deceased especially enjoyed.
- Honor your loved one by making a toast, creating a memory area in your home, or hanging a holiday stocking filled with notes of special memories.
- Look at photo albums and share memories.
- Donate to a special charity in your loved one’s name.
- Create a “gratitude bowl.” Family members can write holiday memories for which they will always be thankful about their loved one on colorful slips of paper. Share them out loud during a special time during the holidays.
These activities are powerful and healing because they allow mourning while at the same time giving permission to enjoy the holidays.
If you or someone you know could benefit from grief counseling from our professionals, please contact Maria Johnson at 740- 788- 1474 or firstname.lastname@example.org