Reactions run the gamut Sadness is a common reaction to loss. But so is anger, fear, anxiety and frustration. Remorse over past decisions and actions. Worry and guilt about “being a burden.” Even jealousy of those with better health. These common reactions don’t have to be logical. They are, however, very real. And they can be extremely distressing.
Sometimes these emotions are focused inward. Sometimes they get projected outward onto others.
It helps to simply know that all of these feelings—sadness, anger, fear, resentment, guilt and regret—are normal. Whether you are the person with the illness, or a family member. They may be uncomfortable, or not seem fair. And if left unattended, they can be destructive. But they are not bad in and of themselves. They are simply warning signs that something is out of balance. A serious illness is an extreme stressor, for everyone. It definitely throws a family out of balance for a while.
How to know if a reaction is destructive? If it takes up a larger than usual percent of your awareness, and lasts for several weeks, then it’s time to pay attention. You might feel “Of course I’m depressed, this is depressing.” That’s true. But it doesn’t mean that one needs to get caught in the mire.
Clues that your emotions are in need of attention might be:
they are getting in the way of doing what you need to do;
they are blocking your ability to find moments of joy in life.
Some of the symptoms of depression may also be caused by the illness, for example sleep problems, memory issues and shortness of breath. Working on the emotional side, however, can help reduce those distressing physical symptoms. Our body, mind, heart and spirit are all inter-connected.
Talk of suicide This is absolutely a red flag. Even if it’s been waved a thousand times before in your family dynamic, it is a call for help. You don’t have to handle this alone. Reach out.
What are your hunches telling you about any difficult emotional reactions? What would trigger you to seek more help?
Most of us think of depression as sadness. Indeed, feelings of powerlessness lead some people to grief. But others rev their engines by getting angry. That fire feels better, more empowering. At the root of it, however, is sadness at the losses, or potential for losses posed by the disease.
Depression is treatable
Even under difficult circumstances, life does not need to carry that overwhelming and sinking feeling that comes with depression. There are things that can be done to help ease depression. And the sooner treatment is started, the greater the chance of a beating the depression.
Signs of depression
Classically, if a person has experienced four or more of these symptoms nearly every day for the last two weeks, there is a high likelihood of depression:
fatigue, listlessness, lack of energy
inability to remember, concentrate, or think clearly
lack of motivation
no joy in activities one used to find pleasurable
withdrawal from others
changes in eating patterns (eating more or less than usual)
changes in sleeping patterns (sleeping more or less than usual)
an increase in the use of cigarettes, alcohol, or other mood-altering substances
feelings of sadness and bouts of crying
feelings of hopelessness or despair
feelings of worthlessness
feelings of guilt
thoughts of suicide
Talk with the doctor It is not difficult to see how a serious illness itself might bring about many of these symptoms! The physical signs could well be things a patient would experience from his or her disease. Nevertheless, it’s worth checking to be sure there is no depression added on top of the condition. If there is, these symptoms can be lessened, which leads to a better quality of life. The earlier treatment is started, the better.
If feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness are coming to the fore, it’s especially important to contact the doctor. It becomes even more urgent if conversations lean toward guilt about being a burden, or thoughts of suicide. Emotional suffering is every bit as painful as physical suffering. Your health care provider will help you find ways to fix it.
If you as the caregiver are experiencing four or more of these symptoms, let your doctor know. Your health and well-being are every bit as important as the person’s you care for.
Depression is not inevitable
Depression is a condition that can and should be treated. By addressing depression head on, you can free up more energy to focus on the other tasks before you.
If depression seems to be in the picture, what are the barriers to getting treated? How might you overcome them?
Whether you are a person with a serious illness, or a family member, there are things you can do that ease the pain of difficult emotions.
Communicate your fears. Even if it’s scary to talk about, most people feel better when their imagination can be reined in with facts. Talk to your health provider and ask your worst case scenario questions. Getting them out on the table can take away some of their punch.
Learn more about the condition. Fear of the unknown is a huge factor with anxiety and depression. Knowing what to expect can be immensely reassuring. Plus, knowing what you can do to reach your goals of care helps to counteract feelings of powerlessness. Again, a conversation with the doctor or nurse will be very helpful.
Support better sleep. Sleep problems are intimately related to both depression and anxiety. In fact, people who have trouble sleeping often become depressed or anxious. Everyone feels better, and sees the world more clearly when they feel well-rested. Check out our article on fatigue for useful tips.
Indulge in simple pleasures. The things that bring pleasure now may be different from what they were even just a few months ago. But make note of them. Practice random acts of joy. Seriously! One of the best cures for depression, even in the face of serious illness, is to intentionally engage in pleasurable activities 2-3 times a day. It can be a phone call with a friend, eating a favorite food, taking a walk in the garden. Stick to the simple pleasures, and activities that are overall healthy for you.
Discuss any spiritual concerns. Some of your anxiety may relate to existential questions, like “Why me?” or “Why does God allow suffering?” Spiritual distress is very real. And it can provide significant barriers to healing. You may start to question your faith. Maybe there are regrets about past mistakes in life and how that might impact life after death. Our chaplains are well-versed in helping people come to terms with these spiritual questions. They do not push a particular faith belief. Rather, they ask questions and encourage you to look inward to your own beliefs to discover what your heart and soul tell you is true. If you would like help with spiritual questions, give us a call at 602-888-7037.
Projects you might find valuable
Conduct a life review. A life review is a worthy activity anytime you have a few decades under your belt. It helps to put your life into perspective. It doesn’t have to be long. And it doesn’t have to be written. Talk into a recorder, or video tape reminiscences as they come up. And don’t feel you have to start at the beginning and move chronologically. Concentrate on highlights or crossroads in your life, beginning with those that feel the most meaningful to you now. As you reflect on your life, the things you are proud of will come more into focus. And you may gain new insight into those bumpy spots in your journey. Perhaps some of your emotional distress has to do with unfinished business? A life review might make it clear what you want and need to do to resolve any relationship issues.
Make amends as needed. All families have conflict now and then. Families simply are messy. There are sore spots and unanswered questions. After a life review you may realize you want to communicate with someone from your past. Maybe forgiveness is in order. Or you need to say thank you. Even if the person has already died, it’s amazing how healing it can be to write a letter.
Create an ethical will. A serious illness causes everyone to look at their priorities. And certainly it makes one think about what they have to offer succeeding generations. Consider it a legacy. Not in the sense of money or gifts. An ethical will is a way to share your wisdom, giving the bequest of lessons learned and loving insights for those who will follow after you in the family. It can be written, but like a life review, it can be dictated or video recorded.
Reflect on your strengths. Think about times in your past when you encountered difficulties and feel that you handled them well. What personal qualities did you draw upon? How did you manage your stress in a healthy way? How can you apply those to the current situation? In the same vein, are there coping strategies you used in the past that were not as helpful? What would you like to do differently this time? How can you support yourself to reach for a different strategy?
Which of these approaches seem the most realistic for you? Any barriers? How might you overcome them?
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 was reaching out to try and get some help with my mother. I called this company and was not aware they did not cover all of Arizona. I spoke to a wonderful lady who I think was Bev. She assisted me in finding a hospice for my mom. She had knowledge of hospices in the Prescott area. If I ever move to Phoenix I will be stopping by their offices to say thank you. She held my hand and called me back the next day to make sure that we were getting care for mom. They went above and beyond.
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.