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Can You Say the Wrong Things to a Senior Who Is Near the End?

One of the worries that you might have as a family caregiver could be that you say the wrong thing to your elderly family member. You might be worrying over nothing, but that doesn’t help when you feel at a loss for words.

Talking to Dying Family Members Is Difficult

There is often so much that you want to say to a family member who is near the end of life. But some of those conversations might not feel appropriate, especially if they relate to old issues or unfinished business. What often happens is that you and other family members end up tongue-tied and worried about every word that you say.

Fear Can Make You Say Trite Things You Don’t Mean

Fear locks up the brain and it can make you and other family members say things that aren’t really what you want to say. Things that are clichés or that don’t really have any meaning for you or your elderly family member end up just filling space. These types of statements can also make you feel uncomfortable because once those phrases are out of your mouth and in the room they can feel like something you shouldn’t have said.

Your Senior Might not Need You to Say Anything

Something to remember is that your elderly family member may not really need for you to say much of anything. Filling space with words isn’t as powerful as your presence and your comfort can be. Holding your senior’s hand or simply allowing yourself to be with her in the quiet of these moments can often be more powerful than anything else that you might say or do.

Rely on End-of-life Care Providers

If you still feel as if there’s something that you should be saying, end-of-life care providers can help you to find the words or they can put you in touch with someone who can. Bereavement counselors and other professionals associated with end-of-life situations can give you insights that allow you to find the right words when you’re still struggling to communicate what you want to say. Even if you’re only finding those right words for yourself, it matters.

You have an existing relationship with your elderly family member and you know how you each feel about each other and the situation. Lean on what you already know and let your intuition guide you when you’re not sure what you should say.

If you or an aging parent are considering end-of-life care in Upper Darby, PA, please contact the caring staff at Serenity Hospice today. Call (215) 867-5405.

Michael Drew, LNHA

Michael Drew LNHA is the administrator of Serenity Hospice PA, servicing the greater Bensalem and Philadelphia areas. In this capacity, he leads and inspires the company’s mission of providing quality and compassionate end-of-life care and supportive services for patients and their families, and to enhance their quality of life. Michael’s hallmark is his genuine concern for patients and his dedication to meeting their needs.
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.