When a loved one is diagnosed with a terminal illness, the road ahead may still be a long one for you and your loved one. Did you know that two thirds of those who are diagnosed with cancer have a five-year survival rate?
As a result, death may not come unexpectedly but instead is often a process that begins with a life-threatening diagnosis that will eventually result in death. So, how do families live with the long process that has the potential to alter lifestyles and force many to confront “loss” long before death enters the picture?
The following palliative caregiving tips are intended to help you and your terminally ill relative deal with end of life issues.
Acknowledge that the topic of death is difficult to talk about. Be upfront and allow your loved one to guide the conversation.
Allow emotions to come up—don’t shove sadness away. Expose your emotions to the loved one. Do not pretend all is well. This frees your loved one to feel and express emotions too.
Visit your loved one often and spend time with them.
Have meaningful talks – the ones that matter like memories and then find closure. Have conversations that include forgiveness, thankfulness and love between friends or family members.
Sometimes, people approaching death may try to communicate an important message to those around them, even if they’re unable to speak clearly. If this happens, try to understand what your loved one is trying to say.
Know what end of life legal decisions need to be made. Has your loved one executed a power of attorney for both their financial and medical affairs? A healthcare power of attorney acts on behalf of your loved one regarding medical treatment decisions. A financial power of attorney focuses on financial decisions. Know and respect the decisions your loved one wants carried out.
CalaCare offers respite care services for family caregivers as well as palliative care services for those requiring end-of-life care. We are happy to provide you with more information or arrange a free in-home consultation with a professional Care Manager. Call us today to schedule a visit and learn about our services at 1-888-774-CALA (2252).