Moving Through Grief

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What is grief?

Grief comes in 5 stages, although it’s usually much more complicated than that:

1) Denial: You can’t believe it.

Grief comes in 5 stages, although it’s usually much more complicated than that:

2) Anger: You are mad that the situation is happening to you.

3) Bargaining: You hope and pray your situation can change.

4) Depression: You feel like you’ve lost your sense of hope.

5) Acceptance: You learn to live again. 

My number one advice for clients is to let them feel it. While grief hurts, not allowing yourself to work through the stages can make things worse. There are many hospice therapists, counselors, and mental health professionals to support you through it. 

What does this have to do with physical therapy?

Physical therapy can play a huge role in palliative care. While many goals we make are to improve function, strength, independence, mobility, etc., our goals with palliative care are to allow the patient to decline as comfortably and safe as possible. We can help with finding the right assistive devices to use, provide education on appropriate strategies to minimize risks of falling or injury, and help the patient remain as independent as possible, even with a terminal diagnosis. I suggest talking to your doctor, hospital, or facility to find a physical therapist who can assist in palliative care if this affects you.

 

How Does This Affect the Caregiver? 

If you’ve been following along with my business, you know that I specialize in helping caregivers. Most people with a chronic health condition already have a team of health care providers to help them, but what about the caregiver? You’re the one taking care of your loved one, even if they do have a medical team of their own. You’re the one who has to continue on with normal life demands while watching your loved one actively decline. You’re the one with headaches and a tense neck from trying to suppress your own pain while taking care of your loved one. You’re the one they rely on. What if you had your own health professional who taught you everything you need to know without having to worry about being cut off due to limited treatment time and productivity measures?  You should know more about the medical conditions you are working with, how to use medical equipment, how to care for yourself, have a support group, manage your stress, leverage your body so you don’t have to be scared of hurting yourself, have someone to ask questions to when you’re feeling scared and confused, and walk along side you as you build strength, power, and resilience. 

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