Though death is a natural part of life, seniors and their family members may have a difficult time facing it as a reality. However, it’s important to help your elderly loved one make plans to ensure his or her wishes are carried out when this time nears. The staff at Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of Fort Myers senior care, has a few tips that may help you and your loved one face end-of-life planning with less fear and more assurance.
Join a Support Group
As your loved one’s caregiver, you may face difficult decisions and various emotions pertaining to his or her end-of-life planning. Joining a support group can help you speak with others about your fears, discuss ways to better understand your loved one’s medical condition, and receive advice on how to feel less alone throughout this process. You will be able to connect with professionals as well as other Fort Myers caregivers going through similar situations. Support groups can help alleviate your fears by teaching you to accept what is going on around you, and they can also help you find purpose and balance while being a caregiver during this difficult time.
Have Meaningful Conversations
As your loved one ages or becomes terminally ill, he or she will want to remember the good times shared with you and other family members. Having meaningful conversations about the past can help you both find closure, thankfulness, forgiveness, and love. Listen to the important messages your loved one shares with you, even if he or she is unable to speak clearly. Though you may be tempted to pretend everything is normal, you should be honest with your loved one and give him or her the opportunity to express honest feelings with you as well. Talking openly about end-of-life planning can provide your loved one with relief knowing you understand what is going to occur.
Make Legal Preparations
You may fear the day you have to make difficult decisions regarding your loved one’s health, which is why you should make sure he or she establishes a living will. This legal document details your loved one’s treatment preferences, such as having feeding tubes or using ventilators to stay alive. A living will can help take the pressure off of you if these situations occur and your loved one is unable to make these decisions independently.
Discuss Fears About Death
While talking about death can be difficult and stressful for both of you, you need to go over this topic together and openly discuss the fear of losing control. Encourage your loved one to live as normal of a lifestyle as possible. You will need to remember terminal illnesses or aging does not change the person he or she truly is. You will both need to understand you cannot control death, but you can make the decision to enjoy life together in the present.
Though it’s never too early to start making difficult end-of-life plans for the future, it may be more realistic and less overwhelming to plan for ongoing care in the present. For instance, if your loved one has a health condition preventing him or her from staying safe while performing daily tasks, he or she may need around-the-clock assistance from a 24-hour caregiver in Fort Myers. At Home Care Assistance, all of our caregivers are trained in the Balanced Care Method, an evidence-based program that promotes healthy senior living. We also offer part-time care and specialized care for seniors with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. For more information on our senior care services, call one of our experienced Care Managers at 239.449.4701 to schedule a free in-home consultation.