Many people face difficulties when deciding what level of care they should give to a close family member undergoing a hard time. One of the most challenging times that people face is the demise of their loved ones, especially a parent. Besides, it may be hard to know what to say or do to comfort them, as this can be a testing time in a person’s life.
The following are ways you can help your elderly parent as they make end-of-life decisions.
Help With Basic Needs
Although you may be tempted to ask your parents how you can help them, you should try to anticipate helpful methods that you can use. Typically, an ill person has many things on their mind, and they may not be able to articulate or identify the areas in which they may require help. Besides, they may also be uncomfortable requesting your help.
If you find a way in which you can offer assistance, just provide it. For instance, you can prepare a meal, clean their bathroom, offer medical support, help control their pain, assist in feeding, meet their spiritual needs, and help them update their estate plan, as some circumstances require a person to make changes beyond the typical five-year update. Your parent will greatly appreciate your initiative and foresight.
Minimize Medical Talk
A person undergoes numerous treatment options when their health deteriorates. Notably, most blood tests do not need any special preparations. However, for some, a person may be required to avoid eating for eight to 12 hours before the test. Typically, a doctor advises their patients on how to prepare for the tests. It would help if you always remembered that your parents had communicated endlessly with physicians about their prognosis, illness, and treatment options. Therefore, it is okay to request general information if you weren’t present at those meetings, but avoid asking them for detailed information.
Instead, you should contact the doctor for more details. Asking a parent undergoing end-of-life care questions about their condition usually discourages them, undermines the positive feeling they need, and makes them feel abnormal. Moreover, when they are ready and willing to share, they will usually initiate the discussion.
Your elderly parent likely made some difficult yet important decisions as they were becoming ill. They may want to be cremated after they pass away, as it has become more common nowadays. Be sure to give your parent reassurance that every decision they’ve made along the way will be followed through after their death.
Even though their worries about the process of dying may be addressed, a parent may still fear leaving behind individuals who they cared about and loved, such as their children and family members. Therefore, it is important to remind and assure them that everything will remain under control, the family members will take care of one another, and they will be cherished and remembered. It would help if you let your elderly parents understand that it is normal and okay to let go when the time comes. Eliminating any emotional impediments helps in opening the door to a peaceful passing.
Create a Peaceful Environment
Most people opt to remain on their own when they’re ill. Therefore, if your parents have to stay in a hospice house or healthcare center, you should try to do everything that makes them feel at home. For instance, you should ensure the area is free from harsh lights and clutter and disguise medical supplies. You should avoid surrounding your elderly parents with negative items. Instead, you should fill the room with their favorite things, like flowers, pictures, music, and artwork.
Being around a person who needs end-of-life care, especially a parent, is one of the most challenging times. However, you should make them feel comfortable and allow them to live peacefully. Ensure all end-of-life decisions are made with your parent’s blessing, too.