There is no right or wrong in supporting your loved ones through end of life planning and we know it’s a heart-breaking time and there is no manual for dealing with such an emotional shock. We have put together some points that will hope will help.
Providing emotional comfort at the end of life and Saying GoodbyeSome emotions are common to many people during end-of-life care. One is worrying about loss of control and loss of dignity as their physical abilities decrease. And alongside this is the fear being a burden to loved ones yet at the same time also fear being abandoned.
Allow your loved one to express their fears surrounding death. It is very painful to listen to someone that you love, talk about leaving family and friends behind, but sharing their fears can help them come to terms with what’s happening. Although very difficult, try not to communicate your concerns at this time. Share these with friends and family, or therapist.
Avoid withholding difficult information. If your loved one still able to comprehend the situation, most people prefer to be included in discussions about issues that concern them. Include them and Legacy of Lives will support you to do this with your loved one by building a plan with their wishes.
Respect their need for privacy. For many people end-of-life care, is often a battle to preserve their dignity and end their life as comfortably as possible.
As a late-stage caregiver, you can offer emotional support to your loved one in many ways:Reminisce. Encourage your loved one to talk about their life and the past. This can help them gain perspective on their life and the process of dying. Chat to them about happy memories you have, look and talk through photos.
Play Music. Music is stored as an implicit memory, which means our unconscious and triggers parts of the brain that evoke emotions and perhaps good memory. Even if your loved one is unable to communicate make the room as comfortable and calming as possible perhaps with low lights and background music.
Hearing is the last sense to shut down, so even if your loved one appears unresponsive, there is a very strong possibility they can still hear music and what you are saying, so keep doing as much as you can during this difficult time.
Saying Goodbye. Although this is a very painful time, end-of-life care does offer the chance to do all or some of the above and to say goodbye to your loved one. An opportunity that many people who lose someone regret not having.
You don’t have to speak to say goodbye. Touch is such a very powerful means of communication. It is the first sense we develop from birth and the first language we learn. Touch can bring comfort and closeness to you and your loved one during those final days and hours.
Whatever you are doing just being there is comforting for your loved ones. Legacy of Lives has a free to use supportive planning tool to encapsulate your loved ones wishes and support you in carrying those wishes out.