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How to Help Your Loved One Practice Acceptance During Hospice Care

Learn an Important Method to Support Your Loved One

Practicing acceptance is a powerful concept. Although much attention is paid to “thinking positive” when you’re trying to find strength during difficult times, acceptance may have even more benefits for those who attempt to practice it.

If you have a loved one who is receiving hospice care in their home or dealing with a challenging situation related to their health, you might consider learning how to help them cultivate acceptance. This practice may also be useful for yourself as a family caregiver.

What Does It Mean to Practice Acceptance?

Acceptance is a way of thinking. It’s also an action. As a way of thinking, acceptance may look like this:

  • Understanding the reality of your circumstances.
  • Understanding what is and is not in your control.
  • A willingness to take actions within your control.
  • Bravery to accept and experience what is not in your control.

As a way of acting, acceptance may look like this:

  • Taking steps to solve a problem.
  • Taking steps to improve a situation.
  • Avoiding actions that will negatively affect a situation.

Reinhold Niebuhr, a Lutheran theologian, is said to have penned this poem that fully describes both the mindset and actions required for acceptance, known as the “Serenity Prayer”:

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.”

In these words, the speaker asks for serenity to understand their circumstances and take action with a measure of calm about the whole process. You don’t have to be religious to benefit, however, as psychologists have also documented feelings of well-being that come with this practice.

If your loved one is receiving hospice care near you, a mindset of acceptance, followed by meaningful action, may help them during a time that is physically, emotionally, and spiritually difficult. Your loved one may benefit from these practices if:

  • They are experiencing physical, emotional, or spiritual discomfort.
  • They feel fear, uncertainty, or hopelessness about their circumstances.
  • They want to find more peace of mind about their day-to-day life.

Practicing Acceptance with Your Loved One During Hospice Care

If your loved one is receiving home care near you, including hospice care or other services like home health care, palliative care, or private duty care, you can play a key support role by helping your loved one to practice acceptance. The same is true if you are a family caregiver supporting your loved one at home.

Try these strategies, which are adapted from “How to Practice Radical Acceptance” by author and psychologist Dr. Tchiki Davis:

  1. Communication: Talk through your feelings with your loved one. Find out what about their circumstances is frustrating or uncomfortable. Putting words to feelings helps create a more clear understanding of present conditions.
  2. Letting go: Work on helping your loved one let go of judgment. This means not labeling a situation as good or bad – it’s just how things are right now. This may help your loved one feel less ashamed, guilty, angry, or fearful about what they’re going through.
  3. Remember to breathe: Mindfulness and breathing exercises may help your loved one to relax and accept both the good and challenging aspects of their present circumstances. If you’re new to mindfulness, consider these suggestions from our blog.
  4. Planning: Make a list of what can and can’t be controlled. For example, your loved one may not be able to change the fact that they are homebound, but that doesn’t mean there are actions they can take to make life feel more comfortable or engaging.
  5. Into action: Take specific actions, which may mean following the recommendations of doctors about sleep, diet, medications, exercises, and more. It may also mean regular meditation; picking up the phone when loved ones call; streaming a religious service on the phone, tablet, or TV; reading motivational literature; or other acts that you both determine could help your loved one feel better.

Of course, practicing acceptance with a loved one receiving hospice care may be easier said than done. However, according to Dr. Davis’ article, independent studies reveal health benefits, including:

  • Lessened anxiety
  • Fewer negative thoughts and feelings
  • Relief from chronic pain

How Hospice Care Provides Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual Care

You don’t need to pretend you’re an expert at helping your loved one through a challenging time. You can also rely on compassionate professionals to help. When your loved one receives services from a leading provider of hospice care, their physical, emotional, and spiritual care is in good hands.

Hospice care in the home includes services that make a difference in how your loved one views their circumstances, such as chaplains for spiritual counseling and trained volunteers for encouragement and support.

You may find that your family also requires support, particularly as hospice care nears its end. Hospice care includes bereavement services, which may include understanding the stages of grief and how to accept a loved one’s passing.

You, your family, and your loved one have the power to experience difficult healthcare circumstances with grace, courage, and comfort – and a provider of hospice near you can help immensely. Learn more, beginning with this article on the levels of hospice care provided through Medicare.

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