End-of-Life Care: How to Prepare Your Loved Ones
When a loved one is in the final months or weeks of life, it’s an unfathomably difficult time for families. You might be wondering how you can make them feel more comfortable. If you have the energy and foresight to start making plans in advance, you may be able to spend even more time with them as their life comes to a close.
At Nurse Next Door, we can help in-home palliative clients with caregiver relief, pain and symptom management (location dependent), and offer emotional support and tools to families. Here are some suggestions, so you can make the rest of your time together as comfortable and transparent as possible:
Talk about your feelings
You’re likely dealing with many emotions right now. It may be a combination of sadness, fear, anger, and even regret. Bottling them up might add to your stress. Let yourself cry. Try and open yourself up to friends and family who may be feeling the same way. Share memories, cry together, and laugh together.
Help them with their final wishes
Whether they want to visit with an old friend, listen to their granddaughter play piano, or watch their favorite movie, help grant final wishes if possible. You may have to get creative (for example, we brought ‘Hawaii’ into the home of a man who regretted not bringing his wife to the island), but even the smallest notion may put a smile on their face.
Ask them how they’re feeling
Some people are comfortable talking about death, and others are not. Not everyone wants to share their feelings. But if you have a close relationship, it can’t hurt to ask–and more importantly, to listen.
Get important things in writing
While the paperwork may seem overwhelming, get it out of the way as early as possible to save time and energy later. You should have a DNR (a Do-Not-Resuscitate order), a will (ideally prepared when the individual was/is of sound mind), and a designated power of attorney who can make financial decisions.
Make the home safe and comfortable
If the bed needs to move into the living room or the toilet needs a higher seat and grab bars, try and make it happen. A safe and accessible home can mean a more comfortable end-of-life experience.
Tell them you love them
Most importantly, make them feel loved. Whether or not you’re able to provide other forms of support, just saying “I love you” can mean the world to someone. If you can’t be there in person, phone them or have a caregiver coordinate a video call.
In the end, you want to spend quality time with this person, rather than stressing over providing care. Consider hiring a caregiver or nurse who can help with household tasks, family support and pain management/symptom management (location dependent).
Let daughters be daughters, and let sons be sons.
If you have questions about Nurse Next Door’s end-of-life care, speak with one of our compassionate Care Team members at 1-877-588-8609.