After 30+ years providing home health care supporting families, often times for many years, up to their loved one’s passing, I still find myself struggling for the right words and actions to help them deal with their grief and loss. I take consolation in this though, as I feel the day it is done with great ease and no struggle is the day I need to retire, because it is only easy when you don’t care.

Care Mountain provides non-medical home health care which is commonly viewed at the nursing aide level. We are not a hospice company, but we work with many of them in the Dallas Forth Worth area to provide supplemental services that are not covered under Medicare hospice guidelines.  My focus here is to share some helpful information from my experiences with helping families cope with grief and loss, but the hospice home health care companies are the best experts in the Dallas area.

All hospice agencies have on staff a hospice Chaplin highly trained in this area.  I have often attended hospice training seminars where many of them were guest speakers just so that I can gain a better understanding of how to help our clients through grief and loss.  Some of the more notable hospice agencies in the Dallas and Fort Worth area are Encompass Home Health & Hospice, Vitas Health Care, Heart to Heart Hospice, Beyond Faith Hospice and  Gentiva Hospice.

As a home health care caregiver there seem to be three things consistent among all families that helped them best cope with their grief and loss: being a good, compassionate listener; helping the families in understanding and accepting that they did their very best for their loved one, which was outstanding; and being in good healthy place yourself.

Part of coping with grief and loss is the healthy expression of feelings and emotions that one is experiencing.  Having a good, compassionate listener to express these things plays an important role. Your kind and sympathetic words while appreciated, often do not materially change anything, as the real change comes from within.   Being a good listener keeps the focus on the one coping with the grief and loss of their loved on.

All caring and loving families I have worked with look for assurance and validation that they have done their very best for their departed loved one, and that their loved one would be very proud of them.  Once again, being a good listener is key.  Instead of explaining and telling how their loved one would be so proud of them, I have found asking inner reflective questions to be best.  For example, how do you think your mom felt about all the efforts you made to arrange care for her at home, so that she could spend her last months at home?

The third most important and common influence listed above was that the home health care provider be in a good healthy place themselves. I have found this is where the home health caregiver can have the biggest impact, but also where the biggest challenge lies for even the best of caregivers.  Great caregivers by their very nature love to give of themselves to help others, but often struggle with setting healthy limits requiring them to adequately give onto themselves what is needed for a healthy balance in their own lives.  A good, caring home health care caregiver that has worked at any length of time with their client has likely formed a personal connection, which means he/she too will face material grief and loss challenges upon their client’s passing.  Caregivers without a good healthy balance in their own life unwittingly often let their emotions get the best of them in situations like this, which has the unintended consequence of putting the focus more on their issues, and not those of the client’s family they are trying to help.

Care Mountain home health care in the Dallas, Texas area provides families with highly experienced caregivers effective at helping families cope with grief and loss.  A good recent example involved Jill who called Care Mountain about three years ago for home health care in Arlington, Texas.  We had been caring for Jill’s dad until he passed on three weeks ago.  Jill had written several outstanding on-line testimonials about her experience with our company which emphasized how caring, compassionate their caregivers were, and about the high quality care received.  After reading these testimonials I couldn’t help but to ask the caregivers what they did to be liked and appreciated so much.  They all said being a good listener and demonstrate through actions a true compassion for the care and well being of Jill and her parents.  After Jill’s dad passed, the caregivers continued to stay in touch with her and her mom out of sincere interest in their well-being.  This also seemed to make a big difference to this family.

There are so many great resources on-line to assist caregivers in coping with grief and loss.  Some good ones I found were through Cancer Care and the American Psychological Association.

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Home Health Caregiver Guide To Coping With Grief & Loss: Experiences From Dallas, TX Area Families

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