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Put the 'Comfort' Back in Comfort Care

Caregiver with patient | VITAS Hospice

Caring for someone you love as they near the end of life can be all-consuming. Even with the help of a hospice team, you are the point person. You are there to meet the patient’s physical needs and provide what emotional comfort you can.

If you are the full-time caregiver for someone who is seriously ill, you’ve probably read (or been told) about the importance of taking care of yourself. And despite your exhaustion, stress and grief, you want your life together to be more than medicine and sickness.

The reality is that there can be comfort in the caring—for both of you. You may not be able to take that dream trip to Tahiti, but there are simple ways to give—and get—some emotional TLC during this difficult time.

6 Simple Caregiving Tips

1. Make Mealtime Special

A small vase of flowers, colorful place mats on your dinner trays, your favorite comfort food, casual conversation about movies or books you both enjoyed—all make even a meal at their bedside a more pleasant, relaxing experience.

2. Open the Windows

Fresh air, sunshine, watch the grandkids play in the yard. Take time to appreciate the simple pleasures around you.

3. Make TV Watching Special

Rather than leaving it on all the time, check the listings for programs you both enjoy. Stream movies or TV shows, or record favorites to play when they are awake and alert. Watch old favorites or try something new together.

3. Enjoy Novels Together

Get audio books from the local library or download them online. Sit back and enjoy a story together. 

5. Invite Family and Friends to the House

Spend the afternoon enjoying a potluck and playing cards, cribbage, or a board game—whatever is appropriate.

6. Plan Day Trips to Local Places of Interest

Again, invite a friend or family member to join you, share the memory and help out. The occasional change in scenery will add variety to your routine and get you and your loved one out of the house.

What’s important is that they are not taxing their strength, you’re not running yourself ragged and you’re both enjoying a little downtime—and each other.