Helping Children Through Grief

Posted on Jun 26, 2017

Helping Children Through Grief

Dealing with grief is a skill we all must learn at some point in our lives. Whether it’s the death of a friend, a family member, or helping a friend through a death, understanding how to deal with grief for the first time can be a hard journey to walk. Children who go through grief-inducing experiences, particularly those who do so at a young age, need guidance to help navigate the emotions they may be feeling for the first time. You don’t have to be a professional counselor to help children through grief, so here are some tips to help you help them.

Death is Normal- Try to be proactive and teach children about death before they experience the death of a loved one. Point to examples of death in nature, like dying plants or animals, as less emotional examples of death. This allows children to grasp the concept of death without the associated grief. Sometimes parents avoid talking about death with their children in an effort to shield them from harsh realities, but children need to understand death is a normal part of life. 

Be Ready for Questions- It’s not uncommon for children to have a lot of questions about death when they hear about it for the first time, so be ready. If you don’t know the answer to a question, it’s okay to say so. Let them know you’re struggling with this too.

Honesty- Sometimes analogies and metaphors are helpful, but this might not be the best time for such tools. Don’t be afraid to be straightforward about death. Using terms like, “they went to sleep” might confuse children about what death is and how it works.

Grieve with Them- Don’t feel the need to grieve behind closed doors. Children need to see how people grieve and what’s okay to do in these times. It’s okay for your kids to see you cry and be emotional. This lets them know it’s okay to feel and experience the emotions that are flooding in.

Grieving with children, like grieving with anyone, is a learning process. Don’t feel pressure to get it right the first time or be perfect. The more important thing to do is let them know you’re here for them. Not every child will grieve the same way. Be adaptive and flexible, so you can meet their needs. 

How to Let Friends Know What You Need

Posted on Jun 20, 2017

When going through a loss one of the hardest things to do can be letting friends and family know what you need. Although friends can be quick to offer help, knowing how to respond to their offers isn’t always straightforward. One reason for this difficulty is that it’s often just hard to figure out what you need, let alone communicate it to others. Despite the difficulties, letting people know what you need can really improve the grieving process and help you get through this time.

Just Talk

Talking is often the best way to overcome this hurdle. It could be about what you’re feeling or it could be about the weather. Ideally you’ll eventually be able to work up to talking about your grief, but starting with small talk is perfectly fine. These conversations can be incredibly therapeutic and can help you assess and better understand your needs.

Write it Down

If you can’t handle talking it out, try writing it down. Start a journal about what you’re feeling and how it’s affecting you. Be introspective and once you feel comfortable enough, share some of your journal entries with close friends or family.

This Isn’t Working

It’s okay to, politely, let people know if what they’re doing isn’t helping. Your friends want to help you, but it’s most likely going to be a learning process for everyone. So if they try to help in a way that just isn’t really working, don’t be afraid to say so. A word of caution though. If you feel like changing course because you feel like you’re “too big of a burden” for your friends, this is not a good excuse. Don’t ever feel like your grief is causing others to suffer, your friends are there to help.

Different is Okay

When it comes to family, you might feel pressure to grieve or cope in the same ways the rest of the family does. However, family traditions don’t apply to grief. Just because they like to keep busy to take their minds off it, doesn’t mean you have to. Have an honest conversation with the rest of your family and work together to make sure everyone is getting the support they need.

Avoiding Family Conflict with No Estate Plan

Posted on Jun 14, 2017

Dealing with the death of a family member is hard enough when the deceased prepared a crystal-clear will, but when there’s no will to be found it can cause some serious issues. Since recent studies have estimated more than 60% of Americans don’t have a will, this situation is one you might have to deal with one day. Dying without a will doesn’t automatically doom the family to chaos and feuding, if it’s handled correctly.

It’s hard to be right

Just because the deceased told you they wanted to give you some item or money after they pass doesn’t mean they didn’t tell another family member contradictory information at a later date. Anytime you mention a statement you recall them saying, do so with grace, and don’t be surprised if another family member remembers something different.

Include everyone

During the deliberation process, it’s common for a few pack leaders to rise up. While this can ensure the ball keeps moving, you don’t want to exclude people from the process. People are always more likely to accept a decision they don’t agree with if they feel their voice was heard from the start of the process.

Define “fair”

One word that will get thrown around a lot in these situations is, “fair.” You’ll hear statements like, that’s not fair, let’s all try to be fair, or that seems fair to me. The problem is that not everyone has the same idea of what fair means. Some might define it as trying to equally divide everything based on monetary value, others will want to factor in sentimental value, and others might want to divide assets on a needs basis. Get everyone on the same page and things will go much smoother.

Call a Professional

Dealing with this kind of problem isn’t something most people have ever tried to do. Thankfully there are professionals who do this for a living. If things get to a point where you feel the family can’t handle it, call a mediator or estate planning attorney. Either one will be able to guide you through the process and offer some sage advice.

Who Pays for Hospice?

Posted on Jun 06, 2017

Who Pays for Hospice?

One of the most amazing aspects of hospice care is that patients almost never have to pay a dime for care. In the vast majority of cases, 100% of the costs associated with hospice care will be covered by Medicare through the Medicare Hospice Benefit. This includes the costs of the patient’s interdisciplinary medical team, medication, bereavement support, inpatient care, home visits, and medical equipment.

Other Forms of Payment

In some cases, a patient might not qualify for Medicare coverage or prefer to use another method of payment. Although these cases are extremely rare, if this situation ever arises the following options can be used.

Medicaid- In most states, Medicaid will also provide hospice coverage for patients who need it.

Private Insurance- Most private insurance plans and HMOs will also include a hospice care provision for those who do not qualify for Medicare or Medicaid.

Veterans’ Benefits- The Veteran’s Health Administration can also provide hospice coverage for those who qualify.

Out of Pocket- If a patient doesn’t qualify for Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance, or VA coverage, they can always pay for hospice care out of pocket. Again, this is incredibly rare and only accounts for less than 1% of hospice patients in a given year.

No one should have to deal with medical bills while going through end of life care, which is why hospice is such a great option. If you’re looking for a hospice care provider and have questions about payments or anything else, call Cura-HPC today.

Early Signs of Dementia

Posted on May 22, 2017

Early Signs of Dementia

Memory loss is the most commonly thought of symptom associated with dementia. However, this doesn’t mean dementia is the cause of all memory loss in elderly people. In order for dementia to be the true cause, there needs to be memory loss and trouble with one of the following issues:

  • Focus
  • Reasoning
  • Language
  • Communication

There are many early signs of dementia you can be looking out for. If you start to notice any of the following signs with your loved ones, talk with your doctor about what you can do to slow the progression of dementia.

Short-term Memory Loss

It may not be very obvious when it starts, but pay attention to times that they can’t remember things they did the day before or even earlier today. Odds are they’ll be able to recall events from the past easily, but more recent events will be hard to recollect.

Finding the Right Word

We’ve all had those moments when the right word seems to escape us. These moments will become more and more common as dementia progresses. Conversations may start to take longer because your loved one is frequently having trouble finding the words they need to explain what they’re thinking.

Mood Swings

If your loved one is typically shy, but then suddenly becomes very outgoing, it might be a sign of dementia. This condition affects judgment, so major mood swings and personality changes are typical.

Apathy

Hobbies and activities that used to really interest them might suddenly seem boring. They might not have the energy or desire to get out and do activities anymore.

Comprehension

One of the tell-tale signs of dementia is difficulty understanding stories and conversations. This happens because they’re having trouble understanding the meaning of the words being used and can’t understand what’s happening.

Repetition and Collection

Repeating daily tasks, like showering, and collecting random objects are both strong signs of dementia setting in. Typically, patients do this because they don’t remember showering the first time.

While there’s no cure for dementia, it can be mitigated, especially if it’s caught early. Use these signs to spot dementia before it takes full effect.