ALEXANDRIA, Va., Nov. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- While many people look forward to yearly traditions, gatherings with family and friends, and the general spirit of the season, some people dread the holidays. For those who have lost someone special, the holidays may emphasize feelings of loss and loneliness.
The holidays, especially the first ones after the death of a loved one, are especially hard reports the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. Your local hospice can offer help -- go to http://www.caringinfo.org/ to find a hospice in your area.
"Often, friends and family members are unsure how to act or what to say," said J. Donald Schumacher, NHPCO president and CEO. "For fear of doing the wrong thing, people often avoid grieving friends who need their support the most."
Hospices provide bereavement support to the families they serve and often offer services to the community.
NHPCO offers these practical tips:
- Be supportive if the person wants to break tradition and do things
differently this year.
Offer to help with baking or cleaning. These tasks can often seem
Ask if you can lend a hand with seasonal decorating.
Volunteer to help with holiday shopping, or offer catalogs and
suggestions of online shopping sites.
Invite the person to attend a religious service with you.
Extend an invitation to your home during the holidays.
Help your loved one prepare and mail holiday cards.
Ask the person if he or she is interested in volunteering with you.
Doing something for someone else may help the person feel better.
Make a donation in memory of the person who died.
Never tell someone to "get over it." Instead, give the person hope that,
eventually, he or she will enjoy the holidays again.
If your friend wants to talk about their feelings or the person who
died, be comfortable listening. Active listening from friends is an
important step for healing.
Remind the person that you are thinking of him or her -- and the loved
one who died.
In general, the best way to help those who are grieving is to let them know you care.
For more information about dealing with grief, visit NHPCO's Caring Connections Web site at http://www.caringinfo.org/ or call the HelpLine at 800-658-8898.
Source: National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization