When faced with a serious illness, we are often called upon to evaluate core values and beliefs. What makes life worth living? Is there a quality of life that is unacceptable?
As a family caregiver, you may be asking yourself these questions. Very likely the person you care for is also, although he or she may not be talking about it.
Values and priorities
The key to living well, at any time in life, is to identify what it is that you value most. What is important to you in terms of
your physical well-being?
your mental balance?
your spiritual health?
For people with a serious illness, these questions become a daily concern. The answers will certainly inform decisions about treatment. They will also affect decisions about life support and end-of-life wishes.
Consider these issues with your loved one. And if they have meaning for you in your life also, that may be one of the gifts of giving care.
People struggling with a serious illness often come to measure their days in terms of quality of life rather than its quantity.
Not much stamina
As the disease advances, your loved one may not have much stamina. He or she may not be able to fulfill the roles that were meaningful in the past. Career, friend, parent, spouse. All require energy that may no longer be available.
Still a lot to do
That said, there is still much to live for. Even the dying have wishes and goals. Tasks to complete. Borrowing from the work of noted palliative care physician Ira Byock, these tasks can be described as follows:
Completing one’s worldly affairs
This might include arranging a will or trust to distribute any assets. Your loved one might want to write an advance directive outlining his or her health care wishes at the end of life. There may come a time when it’s appropriate to make closure with community groups and activities outside the ring of intimate friends and relations.
Reviewing one’s life
The person you care for may wish to write a memoir of sorts, telling his or her life story. This can be dictated into a tape recorder as strength and time allow. A friend or possibly even a hospice volunteer can type it up. This is an opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate accomplishments and reflect on challenges. Some people choose to make an “ethical will” describing the lessons they have learned and passing on words of wisdom.
In the course of a lifetime, all of us will have made mistakes. During a life review, your relative may identify things he or she can yet do to make amends. Seeking forgiveness can be very healing. Even if that’s not possible, acknowledging regret can help. So can writing a letter. It doesn’t have to be sent. If the person involved is long gone, writing a letter still helps in the process of forgiving oneself.
Resolving family relationships
A part of making closure with the intimate circle is asking for forgiveness from some and likely extending it to others. When faced with the possibility of never seeing each other again, family members often realize that the relationship is far more important than any resentments from the past.
Self-sufficient as we like to be, the fact is we all need each other. None of us is an island. In the course of living, your loved one has most likely helped others. In the course of life’s end, he or she will most likely need help. An important lesson in the final weeks and days is to learn to be dependent and accept help graciously. This task will be easier if your relative can draw dignity and self-worth from areas other than his or her ability to be self-sufficient. For instance, there is great value and strength in the ability to give and receive love or the ability to share laughter.
As people face the fact of their mortality, they often find solace in spiritual beliefs. They connect with the concept of a Being or Entity larger than themselves. Your loved one may come to an understanding of the fundamental unity of all life. He or she may talk positively about merging with this larger Essence.
Not everyone will go through these steps of letting go. At the least, these passages can remind us that there is more to dying than just the passing of the physical body.
The impact on you
People who care for a terminally ill person often find this letting-go process is personally illuminating. It points out that life is short and brings up important questions about living:
Why wait until I am dying to extend forgiveness?
Why focus on what isn’t working when there’s so much to be grateful for?
Why put off those things that truly have meaning to me?
Coping with a serious illness calls all involved to reexamine their priorities. Family members and the person who is ill often discover that the disease can bring them closer. Their time together can be filled with deep love, growth, grace, and joy, even if the condition is terminal.
What gives your loved one meaning or purpose right now?
Clarifying what your loved one cherishes about life will enable you to focus on those qualities. And if you ever need to make life support decisions, it will help you tremendously to know what he or she values most.
Some questions to discuss:
Which symptoms are the most bothersome? Perhaps they can be managed more effectively.
What favored activities have been limited by the illness? Perhaps adjustments can be made so your loved one can capture the qualities of those activities even if he or she cannot perform them as before.
How have relations with his or her friends and family changed because of the illness? Perhaps talking about it could clear the air for closer interactions.
Worries, fears, concerns
What is distressing to your relative? Is there anything that would be worse than dying? He or she may not feel comfortable discussing these topics with you. Rather than bottle them up inside, however, who would be a good person to speak to about them?
What does your loved one’s spiritual path offer in terms of support? Are there rituals to assist with health challenges? Find out about people you can call upon to help your relative access this support.
What gives life purpose? Your loved one might find it useful to reflect on what has been gratifying so far. Identifying lessons learned, and acknowledge shortcomings, can shed light on meaningful activities.
Wishes and goals
What does your loved one look forward to? Even people who are terminally ill have goals or wishes. Perhaps there is an event he or she is hoping to attend. A wedding? A graduation? Maybe your relative would like to visit an old friend. To wrap up a special project. Spend more time with family.
Daily joys We all have little things that cross our path each day and bring a smile. What simple pleasures does your relative enjoy? The birds at the feeder? A particular type of music? Watching the sunset? These are cues for things you can do to make a challenging day better and a good day great!
Learning more about your relative’s values will help you make decisions about treatments if your loved one cannot speak for him- or herself. At rock bottom, what is the minimum that your loved one would require to make life worth living? Are there circumstances, from your relative’s point of view, that make the quality of life so low that it is worse than dying?
What would your loved one say are the essentials for a good quality of life?
I really enjoyed my employment with solace hospice. The team of nurse's, CNA's, social workers and chaplain s work amazing together, always working as a team, including the administrative team.Maggie Welsh my supervisor is someone who has an open door policy. If you need to talk, she will drop everything she is doing without hesitation. She offers a listening ear, direction, encouragement and support. She is full of wisdom and loves teaching other's.I cannot begin to tell you how supportive she has been. The integrity she carries and dedication to not only her team but her employees.The owner, Thomas always made time to acknowledge his employees and constantly shows his apprection for each of them. I'm very grateful for the experience I have gained working for solace hospice. It's been a true honor working for this company.Shanna Arias
As an Aging Specialist, a Senior Resource Center and over 20 years experience with Seniors “Solace Hospice” has excelled in comfort care and palliative care! They have been one of our preferred providers for years in Arizona. Their involvement in the Industry, their caring staff and their professional approach is appropriate when families need them most. Costel Roman the Director of Business Relations is the biggest advocate I have met in his Industry. Solace Hospice you are appreciated by thousands of families and Senior Living Communities in Arizona.
We could not be more grateful to Solace Hospice and their staff for taking care of our loved one, even though he was on service a short time. Everyone was so sweet to us and him and were very responsive to our needs and requests. The staff was skilled, informative, and available at any time of the day or night. Most importantly, they care about us. They spend time with us. We laugh together and cry together. We always looked forward to visits. Thank y'all for everything.
I have written only a handful of reviews in my lifetime. I felt this one necessary. I have worked as an employee for Solace Hospice in Phoenix for over a year and a half. The genuine care, respect and compassion for our patients and families is outstanding. Today, our team received a generous gift card from the owner, Thomas, for Thanksgiving. Even more impressive….He and his family stayed up until 3 am cooking a homemade Thanksgiving feast for us. He walked in wearing a suit jacket, sat down and enjoyed the meal along side of us like family with little rest. This is not the first time our owner and management team have gone above and beyond to make us feel appreciated or to help out in difficult times. Thank you! Our office staff does an amazing job of multitasking behind the scenes and I truly wonder how they get it all done. Our Executive Director, Maggie, (whom I’ve nicknamed work horse) is an exceptionally hard worker whom won’t ask for a thing she wouldn’t do herself and more often does so without asking at all. She is intelligent, kind, fair and very supportive. She wears many hats well and makes it look easy. Our nursing staff is incredibly competent, compassionate and juggle the day to day challenges well. Our CNA’s are some of the hardest workers I have ever had the pleasure of working with and no matter how busy things get, they always manage to get everything done. Our Social worker, Shanna, is a wealth of knowledge and is always willing to help out. Our Chaplains are kind, down to earth, compassionate and funny. Our volunteer coordinator, Barbara, is always smiling, knowledgeable and fun. Our marketer, Costel, bends over backwards to meet the needs of patients and families. I am proud and honored to be a part of such an incredible team and have never enjoyed a job more. Thank you to all of the Solace Hospice Team!
I had a great working experience with Solace Hospice and all of the staff I have encountered, open communication and great quality in their service. The people we worked with so far starting with Costel Roman, the RNs Gina and Heidi and amazing social worker Shana enabled us to continue to work with them and refer Solace Hospice.
Been working with Solace Hospice for over a year and never cease to amaze me! They cater to each individuals needs and go beyond the scope of service. Stephanie, Sammy, Diane and Costel are doing a fantastic job, giving 110% of love and hard work and making sure everything that it’s needed arrives within 24 hours. If you’re looking for a great Hospice give them a chance, they will never disappoint.
I can’t say enough about Solace Hospice. The level of care and attention to personal detail is so much higher than the other hospice company I dealt with. My family recently experienced the loss of our mother followed by our father in fairly close succession. All I can say is thank you Solace and I wish I had discovered you sooner. My mom’s passing was handled by another company. I can tell you they are not the same. Solace operates with a premium degree of care and compassion during such a difficult time
I cannot thank Solace Hospice enough for the amount of love and support they have provided my family with during this hard time. They were attentive, caring, informative and overall extremely experienced in this field.A special thanks to Maggie, Bevery, Katie, Janet, Diana, (just a few of the many) for the help you provided.Thank you all so much!!!Enea
I work with Solace Hospice and they are fantastic. Costel Roman from Solace Hospice is very professional, high ethics and integrity, and also he is respected and well known by the health community in Arizona. Simply put, it's a pleasure to work with Costel - I strongly recommend him!
I would like to express my gratitude to Costel Roman - Director of Business Relation at Solace Hospice, Thomas Fedzin - Owner of Solace Hospice during a difficult time in my life. There is never an easy moment to loose a loved one. Costel Roman and Solace Hospice have helped my mother to go to Heaven and be with the angels peacefully. God bless all of you for being by my side!!!
Solace Hospic is Definitely #1 Hospic in Arizona a team that’s Compassionate towards the needs of not only patients but owners and also caregivers. Costel Roman is so Professional and always gets the job done . Ask him what he can’t do he will tell you what he can do to make the experience working with solace comfortable as possible. Solace will always be my go to Hospic.
I've worked with multiple staff members at Solace Hospice and each and everyone is so incredible passionate about caring for the community. As a wife of a Director of Nursing at an assisted living facility, I hear often about how important great care -- Solace provides great care!
I absolutely LOVE working with Costel and and Beverly!! Costel (AKA Roman) has excellent communication and I value his team immensely! I highly recommend this team if you are looking for a hospice company with great communication skills, friendly faces, and caring hearts!
As a nurse and the owner of several assisted livings, I have had many encounters with different hospices.Solace Hospice has been amazing and has gone above and beyond for my patients and their families! Always helpful, always receptive to the patients needs and always there when needed.Thank you Solace for the outstanding care and dedication your company and your staff provides.
We are so glad and relieved to have met Costel Roman of Solace Hospice.When he came to our assisted living homes and introduced himself he sat with us and explained Solace Hospice’s vision and approach to compassionate high quality care.We were very pleased to hear that residents and families needs are above all else.These past months we worked along side them with a few of our families in our homes .We cannot praise Costel and all of Solace’s staff Enough on the quality of care,professionalism demonstrated and the compassion showed by all of Solace’s staff to the families and our team.We will only recommend a company to our families if we know and experienced first hand that they are among the best in their profession.Congratulations to Solace for putting together an outstanding team. You guys definitely exceeded 5 stars! Luis Pescador.
We were recently reintroduced to Solace Hospice by Costel Roman and Jesse Watson, two of their community liasons, and in the process were impressed with their client-focused service. The biggest selling point for us as a group home is that they were not going to be a hospice that simply stopped fighting for a client and allowed them to die. Many of our residents and their families initially are fearful of the word “hospice” and typically think it means a death sentence. Many of them are not ready to give up the good fight and Solace has been a partner with our home to ensure the resident, their family, and our group homes are all respected and active partners in the continued care and needs of the resident. Everyone from their intake staff, RNs, and CNAs was compassionate, caring, and dutiful in their tasks. Special mention goes to the Nurse assigned to our home, Sabrina. She helped us guide the resident and their family through the difficult process of passing away, and her knowledge and compassion for my resident and her family will never be forgotten. Owning three different group home locations has given me plenty of experience and exposure to many different Hospice companies, but without a doubt, Solace Hospice is one of the best. I can not recommend them enough, whether you be a group home, a family member of a loved one, or someone looking to work at a hospice company. Thank you Costel, your team provided me much peace of mind. I look forward to continue to working with your team.
I cannot begin to describe the gratitude and appreciation my family feels about the experience we had with Solace Hospice. I didn’t know quite what to expect at the time when my father was on your service. My father had such great care! My concerns were quickly relieved. Thank you for the kindness and compassion you have given to us and for the genuine concern for my father and for our family. We sincerely appreciate your tireless effort to care for all your patients and their loved ones, and your eagerness to assist at every turn.
I own 5 assisted living group homes around the Phoenix area. I am always relieved when my residents and their families choose Solace Hospice to help their loved one. I can always rely on Thomas and his staff to take care of my residents. They interact incredibly well with my caregivers and offer assistance 24/7. And they back it up. There have been numerous times when we needed some help from Solace in the middle of the night. Someone from Solace would come out to the home without hesitation and take care of everything. Thank you Thomas for running such a wonderful company!
Great professional help during a hard time. Thank you for making things easier to manage during our time of need. They gave our loved one lots of comfort any time he needed it. Which added relief to me as I knew he was in good hands. Thank you so much Thomas and staff!
As a care coordinator for multiple assisted living homes, I am grateful for the opportunity to have Solace Hospice care for our residents. Working closely with Thomas and his staff Is always a pleasure. All around, a great experience.
Thomas and staff were always friendly and available to help us. We learned so much about our Client’s situations. They are definitely very knowledgeable and confident of what they do to help our clients in our group home meet their needs.