Death can be an incredibly difficult subject to discuss with your aging family member. She may have talked to you about what’s happening in vague terms, but as the reality of her situation approaches you may need a deeper conversation. Here are some steps you can take.
Face Your Feelings First
Before you can help your elderly family member to work through her feelings, you need to do some work on yours. This isn’t easy to do and it can mean that you face issues you didn’t realize that you had. You might be angry that your elderly family member is dealing with the health issues she’s facing or you might find it difficult to express your sadness. Journaling can help, as can talking to someone you trust. When you’re a little more clear about your own emotions, you can better talk to others about theirs.
Be Open and Loving
Approaching this conversation in an open and loving way is the best approach. Your senior may be worried about how you and other family members will cope after she’s gone, so allaying her fears and her anxiety is important. Most important, though, is to find out what she needs from you in order to feel more secure right now.
Don’t Force a Conversation if She’s not Willing to Talk
Some aging family members who are approaching the end of life aren’t interested in talking about anything that’s happening. Your elderly family member might shut down these conversations when you try to start them. In the end, you have to go with her lead. If she’s not willing to have these conversations you shouldn’t really force them.
Professional Help Is Sometimes Appropriate
End-of-life care providers can put you and other family members in touch with someone who can help you all to work through how you’re feeling. They can also help you to find ways to talk to each other and to your senior about what you’re experiencing. This can be an excellent way to break through barriers and make sure that your elderly family member hears what you need her to hear before she passes away.
Every situation is different, but it can help to reach out to other caregivers that you know, too. They can let you know what they’ve done in similar situations and how they’ve gotten through. If you haven’t made friends who are caregivers, support groups are a great place to do just that.
If you or an aging parent are considering end-of-life care in Allentown, PA, please contact the caring staff at Serenity Hospice today. Call (215) 867-5405.
A veteran of providing quality healthcare, Michael has served with distinction in a variety of leadership capacities for nearly two decades, notably as administrator for several Skilled Nursing Facilities in New Jersey. Known as an innovative and solution-oriented individual, Michael has his finger on the pulse on new trends and concepts in providing quality care.
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