The topic of death can be very uncomfortable. Many people struggle with the concept of their own mortality, and it can be equally difficult to think about losing a loved one. This can also be challenging to experience second-hand, when the loved one of someone who is close to you is terminally ill.
Perhaps you want to help prepare them for the loss, but you are not sure how to approach it. Whether the person in question is a loved one’s significant other, good friend or a family member, you might feel helpless in this situation, but there are a few things you can do to ease their journey.
Here’s how to help a loved one prepare for a loss.
Tell Them You Are Here For Them
People experience a broad range of emotions when someone they care about is close to death as well as in the months and years following their passing. Let your loved one know that you will be there for them throughout the process of losing this person who is special to them and throughout the grieving process.
Tell them that you are willing to listen to whatever they say or offer a shoulder to cry on, and that you are also happy to spend time with them doing something engaging if they want to take their mind off of things.
For example, you might offer to play their favorite sport or game with them, go shopping or simply enjoy a meal together. You can also offer to help with tasks when they are too overwhelmed, such as dropping off cooked meals or running errands.
Encourage Them To Say Everything They Want To Say
Many people report that they regret not saying certain things to a loved one while they are alive and lose the chance once they have passed away. If there is anything that your loved one wants to express to the person who is ill, encourage them to open up the lines of communication as soon as possible.
It may be tempting to wait, especially if they seem to be doing well, but a terminally ill person’s condition and consciousness levels can change quickly, so it is best that they say whatever they want to say right away.
Make Sure They Have Discussed Family Assets
Although these can be sensitive topics to bring up, gently encourage your loved one to talk to the person who is ill about matters such as where to find their financial and property documents, who their lawyer is, and where their banking information is kept. In some families, one spouse is in charge of these matters and the other may not know where to begin when it comes to tending to these assets once they have passed away.
Keep In Mind That Grief May Be A Long Process
Once an ill person passes away, your loved one may grieve them for a very long time, possibly forever. Let your loved one know that you will support them for however long they need, and do not pressure them to “move on” after a certain amount of time.
In some ways, the grieving may already be beginning as they realize there is no hope for their loved one, so be patient if they are not acting like themselves during this tumultuous time, and respect them as they heal at their own pace.
If your loved one is overwhelmed caring for someone who is terminally ill, let them know how hospice can help. Some people are hesitant to leave someone they care about in the hands of others, so it is important to explain that hospice care usually takes place in the patient’s home, where they can remain in familiar surroundings with loved ones nearby.
The focus is on giving them the best quality of life possible and relieving pain, and they also support patients’ families. Hospice volunteers can sit with patients so their caretakers do not have to leave them alone while tending to personal tasks.
Let your loved one know that hospice can give them emotional support for caregiver stress and offers grief counseling for a year after their loss, along with the services of a chaplain to help with acceptance and healing on a spiritual level.
Reach Out To Harbor Light Hospice
The loss of a significant person in your loved one’s life will likely be felt very deeply. It can be painful no matter what their relationship is with the ill person, but it is especially true in the case of a spouse or partner as it means the end of a life they shared and that no one else truly understands.
If your loved one is struggling to care for a terminally ill person and overwhelmed by the emotions that take hold during this time, get in touch with Harbor Light Hospice to find out how their services can make this time smoother for everyone involved.