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How to Help a Grieving Loved One During the Holidays

Ten Practical Ways that You Can Offer Help and Support

The holidays, especially the first ones after a loved one’s death, can be especially difficult for a person who is grieving. Friends and family members may be unsure how to act or what to say to support their grieving loved one during the holidays.

In general, the best way to help those who are grieving during the holidays is to let them know you care. They need to be remembered, and they need to know their loved ones are remembered, too. Local hospice grief counselors emphasize that friends and family members should never be afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing because making an effort and showing concern will be appreciated.

Here are some tips that grieving people have shared:

  1. Be supportive of how your friend/loved one chooses to celebrate the holidays. Some may wish to follow traditions; others may choose to change their rituals.
  2. Offer to help with tangible tasks such as baking, cleaning, or decorating. Seemingly simple tasks can be overwhelming while dealing with grief.
  3. Invite the person to attend a religious service with you and your family.
  4. Offer to help with holiday shopping or share your favorite catalogs or online shopping sites.
  5. Invite your loved one to your home for the holidays.
  6. Inquire if your loved one is interested in volunteering with you during the holiday season. Doing something for someone else, such as helping at a soup kitchen or working with children, may help them feel better about the holidays.
  7. Make a donation in memory of your friend’s loved one, as a reminder that his or her special person is not forgotten.
  8. Remember to avoid telling them that he or she should be “over it;” grief is an individual process, and there are no right or wrong ways to grieve.
  9. When your friend wants to talk about the deceased loved one or feelings associated with the loss, LISTEN. Don’t worry about being conversational…. just listen.
  10. Remind the person you are thinking of him or her and the loved one who died. Cards, phone calls, and visits are great ways to stay in touch.

Many people are not aware that Bonner Community Hospice is a valuable resource that can help people who are struggling with grief and loss. Bonner General Community Hospice provides bereavement support to the families they serve and offers services to other community members as well. Hospice is a philosophy of care for patients with life-limiting illnesses. A team of professionals and trained volunteers offer care right at home to patients and their families when measures to cure their illnesses are no longer helpful. Hospice is fully covered by Medicare and most insurance companies, with services available at home or in a facility such as a nursing home.

More information is available by calling Bonner Community Hospice at 265-1179.

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