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Empathy is of the utmost importance

Beginning hospice care is usually a sign that someone is entering the final phase of their life. While dying is a normal part of living, it’s still difficult to navigate grief and feelings of loss during this time. If you have a friend or family member with a loved one in hospice, you may feel at a loss for words. You may not know how to best offer them comfort. Instead of avoiding your grieving loved one, try a few tips from Agape Hospice NW for how to handle the situation. Our Portland, OR team is here for patients, families, and their communities as they grapple with end-of-life care. Here’s what to say to someone with family in hospice.

Acknowledge Their Grief

Before you do anything else, make sure to acknowledge your loved one’s pain. Never try to minimize what they’re going through, and avoid saying things like “at least they’re no longer suffering” or “they lived a long life.” These pleasantries rarely help and only make people feel they’re not being listened to. Instead, validate their feelings by letting them know you understand grief is terrible and difficult to overcome.

Offer Help, But Don’t Force It

Caregivers with a loved one in hospice have a lot on their plate and can easily feel overwhelmed with all their responsibilities. If you have the time, don’t be afraid to offer to help. You may be able to cook a few meals for them or stop by to do some housekeeping. Perhaps all your friend needs is someone to talk to. Make it clear you’re there to support them in any way possible, but make sure you’re not forcing your help on someone who doesn’t want it.

Understand the Grieving Process

Remember, there’s no one right or wrong way to grieve. Your loved one’s process may be different from your own, and you’ll need to be respectful of their unique coping process. Even if their method doesn’t align with your own, let them know you’re here to lend a hand when necessary.

Lend a Listening Ear

Sometimes, the best thing you can do for someone with family in hospice is simply to be present with them. If your friend or family member wants to talk, listen actively and offer words of encouragement. If they’re not up for conversation, just being there is often enough to provide comfort and reassurance.

Check In Periodically

Don’t forget about your friend or family member once your conversation is over. Continue to reach out and see how they’re doing, even if it’s just a quick text or phone call. This will show that your care for them goes beyond just one action—you’re there for them in the long run. Keep in mind that some people may also ask for space during a time of grief, and respecting those wishes is important as well.

Educate Yourself on the Basics of Hospice

When someone you care about has a loved one in hospice care, it’s often easiest to go about your day as normal and interact with them as if nothing is wrong. However, there are much better approaches to supporting your loved one. The team at Agape Hospice NW is here to provide support as well. We’re hospice professionals providing bereavement support, emotional support, and much more. Reach out to us today.

Questions? Contact Us