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Presentation gives advice on how to cope with holidays

RANCHO SANTA FE — Recently, the RSF Senior Center held a special event in preparation for the holidays.  While this is the season for celebration, it may be a time of sadness for individuals especially if someone has passed away.

Championed by Scripps Hospice, the educational presentation was called, “Coping with the Holidays after the Death of a Loved One.” Providing the educational seminar was Janine Siegel, an Outreach Specialist for Scripps Hospice and Home Health.

“Don’t be afraid to make changes this year — sometimes it can be very stressful to keep up with holiday traditions, especially after a loved one has died,” said Siegel.  “It is okay not to decorate, or decline holiday party invitations.”

Siegel wanted people to know that whatever changes they needed to make this year could be different next year.  Growth and change go hand in hand, she said.

Timothy Corbin, MD, medical director of hospice and palliative care services at Scripps Health, shared his suggestions for people experiencing grief during this holiday season.

“Your grief will take longer than you and most people think, and it will depend on how you perceive the loss,” he said.  Corbin continued, “Everyone needs to acknowledge the person who has died.  Don’t be afraid to say that person’s name.”

Corbin also added how “planning” was recommended.  He wants people to know ahead of time that their feelings will come in waves.  This means there will be both good and bad days.

When someone knows what to expect, Corbin said, they can take advantage of and enjoy the good days and not feel so devastated by the bad days.  For Corbin, it’s all about taking one day at a time.

Everyone grieves differently. Corbin said some find a way to acknowledge the loved one who has died by including them in one’s thoughts.  Examples of this could be a toast during the holiday dinner, a visit to the cemetery, or even lighting a candle.

Whatever is chosen, Corbin wants people to know they need to be realistic in how they feel.  If a certain type of “remembrance” may be too emotionally painful, find another.

“Our greatest comfort may come in doing something for others; some persons feel they can acknowledge their loss more meaningfully through volunteer work, helping in a hospital or soup kitchen, or helping a friend in need,” Corbin said.

During her visit at the RSF Senior Center, Siegel wanted attendees to be aware that Scripps Hospice and Home Health clinicians are reaching out every day in its community throughout San Diego County, providing care and support for patients who have a life-limiting illness or need specific nursing support in the home.

“It is important for Scripps to be out in the community to stay touch with the concerns, hopes and needs of residents so we can better support the health and well-being of the people we serve,” she said.

Meeting those needs include those who require a comforting hand during the holiday season when they have lost someone close to them.

For more information about Scripps educational seminars or any other helpful information, Siegel invites residents to call (858) 748-3031.