Caregiver Blog, News Feeds, Video Feeds, Useful Links

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Caregivers Who Are Grieving Can Turn to Hospice for Grief Support

  • In 1996 when my husband died from cancer, I was not aware of the many types of bereavement groups, educational activities, and counseling that are available from Hospice. Today, I'm very familiar with our local Hospice in San Luis Obispo , California, both from my own experience and from my work.

    Family members, caregivers and friends who are grieving can go to the website for the Hospice Foundation to locate a Hospice nearby for grief support. Hospice of San Luis Obispo County is located at 1304 Pacific Street, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401, and the phone number is (805) 544-2266 or (805) 434-1164. The website is at

    The variety of grief support programs range from special events to prepare for getting through the holidays without a loved one, to multi-cultural events such as Dia De Los Muertos, which is Mexico's Day of the Dead, and is a little bit similar to a different version of All Saints Day.

    The Hospice of San Luis Obispo County is in a beautiful, large, old, craftsman style house, almost a mansion, and the warmth and friendliness of bygone days seems to provide an uplift when you go in the door. A variety of poetry books sit on an antique table as you walk over to the receptionist. A wide range of original art representing different ethnic backgrounds decorates the walls, and it's the kind of place where everyone feels comfortable.

    There is no charge for attending Grief Groups or for individual counseling, but a donation to show gratitude is always welcome.

    The grief groups include general grief groups for walk-ins, widow and widower groups, pet grief groups, and other specialized groups. Counselors are available to provide individual grief counseling as well.

    A notebook full of helpful leaflets about grieving is provided and across from the receptionist is a library full of related books that you can check out.

    One of the leaflets is titled "The After Loss Credo" and starts with the following.

    "I need to talk about my loss.
    I may often need to tell you what happened or to ask you why it happened.
    Each time I discuss my loss I am helping myself...
    I need to know that you care about me.
    I need to feel your touch, your hugs,
    I need you just to be with me."

    Another leaflet is titled "Please, See Me Through My Tears" and begins like this.

    "You asked, "How are you doing?" As I told you, tears came to my eyes. You immediately began to talk again, your eyes looked away from me, your speech picked up, and all the attention you had given me went away."

    Features and expressions of grief are described elsewhere, including physical symptoms/sensations, emotional responses, cognitive responses, and behaviors.

    Steps of grieving, grief rituals, and coping with grief are titles of other topics covered in the notebook packet. One page is titled, "There is no timetable for recovering from grief." It's important to understand that each person's grief is different. No two people will grieve alike.

    Hospice Grief Programs provide a place where it is safe for bereaved people to talk and express their feelings with others who are grieving. It's a safe haven, and a place to share. Hearing how others are coping can help each individual navigate the grief process.

No comments: