15 May It’s About Living – Hospice in Loveland Colorado
While the sun may be setting for some, by no means does this mean life is over. Joy and happiness begin with a philosophy that honors the quality of life more than the number of days. Below are some ideas on things hospice residents can do to brighten up the day in and around Loveland, Colorado.
1. Art Therapy that Stimulates the Mind and Stirs the Heart
Art therapy is gaining in popularity as a useful tool to help hospice patients. Through art, a person can relieve the stress associated with end-of-life issues, the fear of the unknown, concerns about those left behind. It provides an outlet for emotions and has a calming effect on the spirit. On that note, there is always the emotional attachment that caregivers develop with clients. Caregivers too experience healing through the artwork made by a client.
Creating artwork in any form stimulates brain activity. For those afflicted with dementia and Alzheimer’s it is a good choice for an activity. There are instances in which making art helps a person recall a memory that provides for a joyful moment.
Art is therapeutic for loved ones as well. The creations made by the patient are a physical representation of that individual, a moment of self-expression that can be preserved and serve as comfort for later on. In a very powerful way, finishing an art project provides a sense of completion for the artist and those who care about him/her.
The City of Loveland, Colorado offers a variety of arts and crafts classes (pottery, water colors, drawing) through Parks and Recreation. Classes are advertised for all ages, but in regard to hospice, special interest classes can be offered. For patients who are mobile, attending classes in another location means a chance to get out of the facility for a little while, for a breath of fresh air and change of scenery. For patients who are immobile, contacting the office to arrange for in-house arts and crafts may be a good way to go. For more information, click here.
2. Music Soothes the Body and Lifts the Soul
Music is another form of therapy for hospice and the Native American flute is one of the most relaxing instruments one could experience. Sound therapy uses vibrations for purposes of healing the patient physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. In hospice, the lower key flutes are more preferred because of their mellow, gentle tones. The flute player can sit with the resident and play notes that affect certain areas of the system or simply play to match the breathing pattern of the person. By doing so, the music helps to remind the individual that they are not alone on this part of their journey, and that is comforting.
There are flute circles in both Idaho and Colorado with one in Fort Collins (about an hour north of Loveland) called the Northern Colorado Native American Flute Circle. Flute players know the flute is an instrument of healing and may be able to travel to a hospice facility or entertain at their regular meeting place, depending on the needs of the hospice residents. All flutists understand the best way to honor the flute is by putting it to good use.
3. Nature Brings Us Back to the Place We Came From
River’s Edge Natural Area (for those who are mobile) is a 163-acre preserve that is wheelchair accessible. The sounds of the Sandpiper and Jayhawker, the appearance of bass in the pond and dragonflies illuminating the area with their color and energy are all easily enjoyed from several docks in the area. The Welland boardwalk is highly recommended to get the best view of one of the most popular points, Bass Pond.
Nature is a provider of, among other things, peace and contentment through a crisp, winter’s breeze, the gentle rain of spring, a misty summer’s morning or the falling leaves in autumn that remind us of the cycle of life. These experiences are natural and, more importantly, they remind us that the cycle is always beginning, never-ending. In that, there is a sense of peace.
4. The Unconditional Love of Animals
LAPP stands for Larimer Animal-People Partnership. Located a little more than an hour northwest, according to its website serves the Fort Collins area so they may be able to travel to Loveland. LAPP is a highly reputable organization that may be able to provide therapy dogs for hospice. Why are these animals such an important option for hospice activities?
Therapy dogs have an inexplicable ability to sense what a person in hospice is feeling. They also know when someone is dying. The dogs provide an unconditional love on a level the staff cannot. The act of petting, a lick on the face, something the dog does that makes everyone laugh are all powerful forms of medicine that can’t be bottled. A patient who hugs a dog may experience less anxiety, loneliness, and depression. He/she may feel reassured by the dog who sleeps in their bed. Their heart rate may improve and blood pressure drop simply by holding the dog. A sense of normalcy may occur through interaction with animals by anyone who loves them and was a pet caregiver.
Having the dog by one’s side in the final moments may offer an immeasurable level of comfort during the transition, not only for the dying but for the caregivers and loved ones. Just the presence of the dog in the room brings compassion in its purest form. For more information on LAPP, click here.
5. A Word of Compassion and Willingness to Listen
It is important for people to engage in conversation with a loved one living in hospice. It is OK to use humor in times of stress and sorrow. It is difficult, yet necessary to talk openly and honestly to help both sides prepare for what is inevitable. Here is where being a good listener comes in handy, and sometimes that is made easier through spiritual support be it a priest or rabbi one has known one’s whole life to a professional who can offer words of wisdom or lend an ear.
Whether the person in need is religious or spiritual does not matter. Of greater importance is the wisdom provided by a respected, faith-based figure. Unanswered questions are sometimes addressed that help ease fears and add closure. Through spiritual/religious dialogue, the one in need may find an opportunity to put his/her life and death in perspective.
Loveland and the surrounding area has a diverse mix of faith-based groups and services. The area is unique in that there is an extensive list of licensed spiritual therapists who are trained to help clients with spiritual questions about the end of life. For those clients who are immobile, but may want to schedule an in-house appointment, a list of therapists can be found by clicking here. For those people who are mobile and wish to attend a service or set up a meeting in a holy place, here is a list of places of worship in Loveland.
Do Thorough Research
Auburn Crest Hospice has locations in Loveland (and Southern Idaho) and may be a suitable place for end-of-life care for someone you love. The most important thing to do is the research to see what facility provides the perfect fit. Things to consider are the location (proximity to family), the mentality of the facility and the services provided. A nurturing environment run by a well-trained staff is key to making a patient’s experience one that allows he/she the chance to make the most of the time they have left. Time is precious.
“Our lives are not measured by the number of breaths we take. But by the moments that take our breath away” – Vicky Corona