This includes things like physical care, nursing services, and various therapies to help the client with any pain, help them relax, and any needs that might come up due to their medical condition.
The team at Above and Beyond Home Care and Hospice also help clients with emotional and mental needs as well, such as offering therapies to help reduce their stress, be available for conversation, help with any paperwork, or generally help keep their spirits up at such a difficult time. These efforts also extend to family members and loved ones who also may be going through their own emotional challenges dealing with everything.
Common feelings for clients and their loved ones include sadness, anxiety, fear, anger, and stress. Not only are all the emotions of grief involved but so many other unknowns since the hospice program is often new and unfamiliar territory to families.
Our team is always happy to share our experiences and listen to people’s fears and concerns. After all, many of us have been offering hospice care for years. So even though everyone’s situation and conditions are different, there are often common concerns and questions.
Social wellness explained
One area of care that we find important to help clients, their families, and any caregivers focus on is what’s called social wellness.
This goes beyond directly helping their mental, emotional or physical health, and focusing on the benefits that can be achieved by interacting with others. Doing so can ultimately help their mental, emotional and physical.
According to the University of New Hampshire, social wellness focuses on your relationships with others. As humans, we are all social at heart and do get all sorts of positive benefits from interacting with others.
Even though it’s true that too many humans around us at once can be overwhelming for many of us, there’s still some value in being around the people we trust and feel comfortable with.
Social wellness can involve positive communication as well since this can allow everyone to honestly share their thoughts, concerns, wants and needs, and other insights. These can also help build solid and positive relationships.
Every age can and should focus on social wellness.
The National Institutes of Health said social wellness can include putting energy into six key areas:
- Making connections
- Getting active together
- Taking care of yourself while helping others
- Quality time with family
- Creating and developing positive relationships
- Shaping family’s habits
Social wellness in hospice
Yes, if you or a loved one are receiving hospice care, it’s quite easy to think “social wellness is the last thing I should be worrying about right now.”
After all, many people are having enough of a challenge trying to deal with all these life changes themselves, especially if they only have a limited time left. Because of their medical condition or everything they’re feeling, they may not want to go out and do things with people.
Processing all of these feelings can make it easy to want to stay inside. They may have a hard time having friends around, and really may not be interested in getting out and meeting new friends at this point in their life.
Additionally, these feelings can lead to feelings of isolation which easily turn into depression and make it even more difficult to want to interact with others. Depression can lead to other negative mental and physical effects, including reducing overall immunity, increasing pain, and reducing healing time.
This state can even make it more challenging to want to go and connect with people and pursue a strategy of social wellness.
However, hospice staff is happy to offer suggestions to clients and caregivers to get started and begin to build these social connections. They don’t necessarily want people to go out to the mall or crowded public situations if they’re worried about their own health. This could be counter-productive to efforts to get benefits from connecting.
Instead, it’s OK to start small and build to more connections as fast or as slow as you’re comfortable.
Consider some starting places:
- Basic exercise. Walk around the block a few times with a few trusted people. They can help pay attention to any mobility challenges or difficulties wanting to interact. You can benefit from sunlight, air, and endorphins from exercise. Or start smaller with exercise inside the home – maybe watching stretching or yoga videos. This way you won’t feel self-conscious and don’t have to worry about anything outdoors.
- Find a safe place and visit there occasionally. Though parts of your hometown may be too crowded or noisy, maybe there’s an area that’s peaceful and uncrowded, like a small park or coffee shop. You can meet friends there or even new people, especially if you’re with other friends.
- Build online communities. Even if you don’t want to get out, there are plenty of options to get to know others through the Internet. Some social media can be loud and negative but there might be certain communities that are more interesting and focused on certain interests or activities you like (local history, crafts, etc.)
Social Wellness Month is taking place all through July, and there are many opportunities to learn more.