A hospice should provide all-round care and meet everyone’s individual needs including spiritual, physical and emotional. They should also support families and offer some sort of bereavement support.
Activities are important for people at the end of life care as it keeps them from getting bored, improves their mood and helps them to feel connected to people. The difference between hospice and nursing homes is that a nursing home should provide a wide range of activities including creative activities, exercise, and activities that provide mental stimulation. Whereas, activities in a hospice are very limited as people are reaching the end of their lives and are likely to be confined to their beds. However, this does not make activities any less important.
Activities will widely depend on someone’s preferences and capabilities. Nevertheless, here are some ideas of things you can do with someone in a hospice. Just be sure to check with the staff before you do anything.
Getting out for some fresh air can boost a person’s mood. The hospice should have wheelchairs you can use, and they may have a garden you can take them out in. If it is cold outside, then just wrap them up warm and put blankets over them.
A change of scenery will be good for them – depending on how they are, you may be able to walk them to park or somewhere to get some food. Just be sure to talk to the staff and keep them comfortable.
Based on their dexterity, you can look into different crafts you could create with them. There are lots of activities such as adult coloring books or simple origami that you could help them with.
Read to them
Reading to them can be a fantastic way to fill the time. It relieves any pressure on them to make conversation. You could go through their favorite book or find something new to read. Their cognitive ability dictates what books you should read to them – simpler reads may be better suited and more relaxing. If they have any favorite books, then this might be best as if they are familiar they won’t have to concentrate too hard.
Music is powerful and can lift someone’s mood. It can also remind someone of happier times. If they’re up to it, you could even try having a little dance or sing-a-long.
Massaging their hands or feet can be great therapy. It will help them to feel connected to you and may distract them from any pain they are in. Be careful about what you use as a moisturizer however, as certain essential oils can be dangerous for people who are unwell or aged. Speak to nurses first if you are not sure.
If they are religious, then consider praying or meditating with them. Be sensitive and ensure that what you are doing is in line with their beliefs.
Nice smells can be powerful. They can make someone feel at peace or remind them of something from their past. You might not be allowed to leave scented candles or incense alight but while you are there you could light them or use air fresheners. You can even buy special smell kits.