Holiday gifts for hospice patients: Enjoying life’s simple pleasures
By Terre Mirsch
Traffic prohibited easy travels this weekend as consumers everywhere rushed from store to store, determined to check more items off their shopping lists. It’s all part of hustle and bustle of the holiday season as we search for the perfect gift for friends, family, and other loved ones.
iPod for Susan
Wii game for Adam
Wallet for Dave
Rachael Ray’s Cook Book for Mom
But what can I get for Dad this year???
For those caring for loved ones with serious or advanced illness, finding the ‘right’ gift and discovering new ways to celebrate the holiday season can be a challenge. Before you resort to buying a fruit cake, consider a gift of memories, time, and gratitude.
• Collect photos of your loved one’s favorite people, places, and things. Create a photo album or photo collage.
• Buy a special frame for a favorite photo that can sit at the bedside of your loved one. A digital photo frame provides a way to share many family pictures in addition to scenic photos.
• Create a video or slide show of family photos. Watch it with your loved one and discuss memorable times.
• Buy a Memory Journal and schedule a time each week with your loved one to assist them in completing it. Memory Journals provide a structured forum to pass along stories and words of wisdom.
• Purchase a recording device. Ask your loved one to talk about what it was like growing up, or to share memories of good times or hard times.
• Involve other family members in building a family tree.
• Gather a few favorite movies and snacks. Create tickets and schedule a movie night with your loved one. Use this time to reminisce and discuss why these movies are favorites.
• Download your loved ones favorite tunes on to an iPod or other MP3 player. Listen together with your loved one and discuss memories and other ideas that these musical favorites bring up.
• Create a ‘comfort’ basket that includes special soaps, lotions, tissues, aromatherapy essential oils (see Valerie’s prior posts about aromatherapy), a flameless candle, music, and chocolate or other favorite snacks
• Write a letter of gratitude. Let your loved one know how special they are and the difference they have made in your life.
Instead of running to the mall this weekend, take the time to gather photos, think about the stories that you long to hear more about, or write those special words you have been intending to say. Gifts of time and memories are priceless. They promote storytelling and life review that defines one’s life and legacy, an important part of life closure. This holiday season enjoy life’s simple pleasures of time, presence, and reminiscence.