People who are facing the end of life are often put into hospice care, especially if their loved ones are no longer capable of caring for them. This type of healthcare offers a compassionate approach to providing comfort and support to such individuals. It is intended to improve the quality of life for the patient by managing symptoms, addressing emotional needs, and promoting dignity and respect.
One way to cater to the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of the hospice patient is by incorporating meaningful activities that can help provide comfort, distraction, and a sense of purpose. Engaging in activities that help improve patients’ and their loved ones’ well-being during such a difficult time.
This article will explore various pastimes that can improve the quality of life in hospice care and discuss their benefits in detail.
1. Reading or Listening to Audiobooks
Books offer an avenue of temporary escape into a different world, explore new ideas, and find a sense of comfort and connection through characters and stories. By reading one, or listening to an audiobook version of it, individuals in hospice care can briefly forget about their health condition and the challenges they are facing.
Books can provide a sense of calm and peace, creating a break from the often-busy and stressful environment of hospice care. It also allows patients to exercise their minds and maintain cognitive function since reading or listening can help improve vocabulary, comprehension, and memory skills.
Such an effect is particularly important for those who may be experiencing cognitive decline due to their health condition.
2. Music Therapy
Listening to music can evoke emotions and memories, as well as provide comfort and calmness. Through music therapy, patients can address some of their physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs.
It does so by alleviating feelings of anxiety and depression, which are feelings that individuals in hospice care often face. Playing music can create a calming and soothing environment, which then invokes a sense of peace and tranquility. This activity can also help in promoting emotional well-being and provide a sense of closure.
What’s more, listening to music offers an opportunity for hospice patients to engage with each other. They can share the enjoyment and experience of engaging in this activity, thereby promoting social interaction and a sense of belonging.
3. Arts and Crafts
Creating works of art and crafting trinkets are meaningful ways to help hospice patients improve their quality of life. Activities like painting and jewelry making are not only enjoyable but they are also therapeutic as they help individuals calm down and meditate.
For patients in hospice care, these forms of pastime allow them to focus on the task at hand and momentarily forget about their physical discomfort or emotional distress. They also help individuals express themselves creatively and create artworks that hold personal meaning or symbolize their experiences, which can provide a sense of purpose and accomplishment.
4. Cooking and Baking
Preparing meals and baked goods delivers a sense of accomplishment and comfort. These feelings are especially important for patients who may be struggling with loss or nostalgia. Cooking and baking can also instill a therapeutic sensory experience as they allow patients to enjoy the smells, textures, and flavors of the food they will prepare.
Like doing arts and crafts, this activity also has a meditative effect that encourages individuals in hospice care to put their attention on the task and momentarily forget their complications. Moreover, cooking and baking can provide a sense of routine and structure that can help patients easily slip into the changes in their daily lives.
5. Movie Nights
Hospice patients need to keep themselves entertained and distracted. One of the best ways to do so is by watching a film. Holding a movie night once or twice a week gives individuals in hospice care something to look forward to, especially when they are allowed to choose the movie they’ll watch.
It also gives them a break from the monotony of daily life, and even helps them feel more connected with the world around them. This sensory experience also allows patients to immerse themselves in the sights and sounds of a movie, which can provide a sense of comfort.
Additionally, watching a movie gives them the opportunity to reflect on their lives and connect with others on a deeper level. Watching a film that deals with similar themes or experiences to what patients may be going through can help them feel less alone and more understood.
6. Low-impact Exercise
It may seem counterintuitive to encourage physical activity in hospice patients, especially if they are already dealing with pain and symptoms. However, low-impact exercises offer positive effects that can help them improve their quality of life.
For one, it can support them in maintaining or improving their physical functions. That means they can make the body appear stronger and help patients feel more confident and in control of their movements.
Low-impact exercises such as stretching and gentle yoga also promote relaxation and stress reduction, which is important for patients who may be experiencing emotional distress. So, engaging in such activities can boost their mood and foster a sense of well-being.
7. Mindfulness and Meditation
Mindfulness and meditation involve focusing on the present moment, cultivating a sense of awareness and acceptance, and developing a greater sense of inner peace and calm. These practices also help hospice patients relieve stress and let go of worries about the future or regrets about the past.
Moreover, practicing these activities enables them to feel more grounded and centered. Such a feeling creates a serenity even in the midst of difficult circumstances.
By focusing on the present moment and cultivating a sense of acceptance, individuals in hospice care can also deepen their connection to a higher power or spiritual practice. This can then instill a sense of comfort, meaning, and purpose.
While hospice care presently provides a gentle approach to providing comfort and support to patients, it is still important to engage in activities that can further improve their quality of life.
Incorporating meaningful pastimes such as the ones listed above helps in addressing their needs to better care for their physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. These activities can offer a sense of calm and peace, alleviate feelings of anxiety and depression, and provide a sense of purpose and accomplishment.
Moreover, engaging in these interests empower individuals in hospice care to find comfort, distraction, and a sense of belonging during such a difficult time.