Medi Home Hospice Fredericksburg is dedicated to our wonderful hospice volunteers. We want you to feel appreciated, be educated, be energized and be informed!

Friday, August 4, 2017

How To Help A Loved One With A Move After The Loss Of A Spouse

By Guest Blogger, Jackie Walters

It’s hard to know how to help when a loved one loses a spouse.

Such a devastating loss can bring about depression, suicidal thoughts, drug or alcohol abuse, withdrawal from friends and family, and emotions that are unpredictable and hard to manage, making even the simplest of daily chores difficult. One of the best things you can do for your loved one, however, is help during big changes, and for many seniors, one of the biggest life changes that can occur after the death of a spouse is a move. The necessity of downsizing is often a hard reality, and going through such a major upheaval can be very difficult to cope with.

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That’s where you come in. It’s important to not only think about your loved one’s needs, but anticipate them. Help him through the process from start to finish and make a list of all the things he’ll need to do in order to get the house ready to sell and move. This will help alleviate stress and keep your loved one on a steady path toward recovery after such a difficult time.
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Here are some of the best ways you can help your loved one get ready for a move.

Hire a housekeeper

Getting a home ready to sell is no easy task, especially if your loved one has lived there for many years and has acquired quite a bit of stuff. One of the easiest ways you can help out is to hire a housekeeper to come in a few times a week to assist with daily chores, such as washing dishes and doing laundry. Crossing these things off the list will enable your loved one to focus on everything else, and will help take some of the stress off his shoulders.

Get family involved

Image result for family togetherIf your loved one has a lot of memories, get his family members involved. Ask them to come over and help go through all the photo albums, boxes of possessions, and other mementos that he may want to pass down. Not only will this be a good way to handle all those emotions after a tragic loss, it will also help your loved one clear out the more important items before packing begins.

Create a list

Image result for listHelp your loved one get organized before making any big decisions. Start in one room and make a list of everything that needs to be done: cleaning, hauling away old furniture, painting, etc. Encourage your loved one to start in one room and get it finished before moving on to the next to prevent being overwhelmed.

Make packing easy

Packing can be difficult if your loved one is having a hard time coping with the loss. Make sure you get permission to help before jumping in, as it can be a very personal thing. Make sections in each room for items that will be kept, tossed, and donated; this will help with downsizing and will keep things organized during the move.

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Depending on your loved one’s state of mind, you may be able to encourage him to talk about his memories as you clean and pack. Listen to his stories about the life he shared with his spouse or partner and keep things as light as possible. It’s not uncommon for depression to hit hard after such a loss, but having someone to talk to can be extremely helpful in such a situation.

Suggest professional counseling

If coping is proving too difficult, it might be time for your loved one to seek counseling or therapy. Help him find the right place to unload his feelings. He may feel more comfortable talking one-on-one, or perhaps group therapy will be more beneficial.

Image result for losing a spouseRemember that losing a spouse is one of the biggest challenges a senior will face. Try to be patient and encourage your loved one to stay social during this time rather than spending too much time alone. Being with friends and family can be most helpful. 
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If you have a story to share about experience with hospice or about issues surrounding death and dying, please contact me via comment on this blog or at

I am interested in volunteering. How do I learn more about hospice volunteering opportunities? What training do volunteers need?

Volunteers are an integral part of the interdisciplinary team approach to hospice care. They join RN's, CNA's, Chaplains, Social Workers, and physicians in caring for patients.

Some of the things a Medi Hospice volunteer might assist with include:
· Reading from a favorite book or the Bible.
· Watch over the patient while the primary caretaker takes a break or runs errands.
· Listen to stories and memories that are meaningful to the patient.
· Support for an overwhelmed caretaker by listening without judgment.
· Using a special talent such as music to bring joy to the heart of the patient and their families.
     · Visit patients with certified animals to offer pet therapy. 
Hospice volunteers are very unique individuals who have a deep sense of compassion for those who are terminally ill. They give selflessly to our patients. They hold a hand that is in need of gentle touch. They read a book that tired eyes cannot see. They sit at the bedside bringing a smile and a quiet presence to one who needs both. When there is soup to heat the volunteer prepares; when there is fresh air to breath the volunteer escorts the patient to the window or porch; when the day calls for a joke or poem the hospice volunteer complies. 
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They are flexible, punctual, reliable and intuitive.They give from their heart, willingly, openly, without restraint.



Volunteering in hospice is a choice that creates rewards for patients and families. The ultimate surprise is the growth a volunteer develops from learning more about themselves with every visit to their patient. You learn to communicate in ways that increase your own appreciation of life. Your views of daily situations take on a holistic perspective. Nothing will ever be the same in your personal or professional life if you are correctly trained as a hospice volunteer.

  1. Must be 18 or over to volunteer.
  2. Weekend and evening hours are available.
  3. Maximum requirement is two to four hour per week.
  4. Training provided.
  5. Locations will vary.
  6. Personal transportation required.

  So would you consider joining others on their last journey? 

We are actively growing our hospice volunteer program and we would like you to know that if you have a desire to become involving in making a difference in the lives of the dying we will give you that opportunity! Medi Hospice is located in Fredericksburg & Manassas Virginia. We have a Volunteer Coordinator who will meet and discuss with you our volunteer opportunities. Should you desire to join our team call during normal business hours and ask for the Volunteer Coordinator.

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