Originally posted on http://www.kake.com/story/40964617/going-peacefully-how-to-care-for-a-dying-parent
On average, there are about 1.6 million people in the United States currently on hospice care.
If you’re currently caring for a dying parent, you know how difficult it can be to say goodbye. Aside from thinking about losing them, there are also plenty of preparations involved.
Read on to learn what you can do when caring for a dying parent.
As your parent gets to the end of their life, it can take a toll on you emotionally. You might not want to think about your emotions while your parent is coming to the end of their life, but you still need to acknowledge them.
First of all, the last thing you want to think about is losing your parent and never seeing them again. However, you should take every opportunity to acknowledge your emotions.
First, start by telling them how much you love them every day and what they mean to you. This is the time to talk about their life, share stories, and fix any unresolved feelings that might be left behind.
If you’re having trouble dealing with all of the emotions, it’s important you get the help you need. It’s okay to talk to someone about your feelings.
Aside from coming with a lot of emotional stress, the imminent death of a parent also comes with a lot of financial loose ends.
Although it’s uncomfortable, you have to put your pain aside in order to take care of the finances. The first thing you need to do is to make sure you respect all of their wishes.
If your parent is still lucid, talk to them about their healthcare and financial instructions. When you know their health will decline soon, it’s important you get a medical and financial power of attorney.
Make sure you also locate a copy of the will or create one if your parent has not prepared one.
As you’re talking about the finances, also talk about the funeral arrangements. Green Meadow Memorials, for example, can help you make all of the arrangements ahead of time.
When one of your parents is diagnosed with a disease, it seems doctors speak a language you don’t understand.
If the condition is terminal, although there might not be much you can do, you can still ensure they remain comfortable until the end.
The more you know about it, the more involved you can remain through every step of the process. You will know what symptoms you should look out for, and which questions to ask the doctor.
You will know more about the medication, side effects, and other factors that might affect your medical decision.
Not too mention, reading about the condition will also help you prepare mentally.
If your parent is coming to the end of their life, you must also make the decision of where they will be spending their last few days.
Deciding where a parent will spend their last few days is something no one wants to think about. However, if your parent needs around the clock care, you need to start looking at options.
Some people decide they want to die at home. Perhaps you or another family member is able to stay home to take care of your parent. Others choose to hire full-time help if they’re not able to care for them full-time.
Hospice is another suitable option when dying at home is not an option for your parent. At a hospice, they also have the resources to keep them comfortable and give them a better quality of life.
Hospice care can also take place at home if that’s what you wish.
If the condition requires around the clock care to ease the symptoms and manage pain, then inpatient care will be able to provide what they need.
Dealing with a sick parent can also take a toll on you as the caregiver. If you want to be the best caregiver for your sick parent at the end of their life, you need to ensure you also get help.
Trying to do it all yourself might result in physical or mental exhaustion. Getting help for simple things such as running errands or cleaning the house can go a long way.
If you’re in the brink of exhaustion, you should reach out to other family members and ask for help. Everyone in the family can take turns buying groceries, running errands, cleaning the house, or simply giving you a day off.
If your family can’t help you, try hiring a cleaning service or get meals delivered a few times a week.
Make sure you also talk about your feelings so ensure your mental health doesn’t suffer more than it needs you. Many people choose to see a therapist to help them deal with their grief.
For many, when they come to the end of their life, they want to think about what happens after. If your parent is a religious or spiritual person, make sure you help them achieve peace before they go.
Depending on what their beliefs are, you might want to have a spiritual leader of their choice come and speak to them.
If you know your parent is not a spiritual or religious person, try not to force the subject.
If you plan on taking time off work to care for a dying parent, make sure you talk to your employer ahead of time.
Your employer cannot help and support you unless they know what you’re dealing with. It’s important to communicate with your employer in order to get a leave of absence or secure flexible hours during those difficult times.
Caring for a dying parent is a tough and trying time for many. It can take a toll on their mental and physical health.
When dealing with a dying parent you should prepare yourself emotionally, financially, learn more about the condition, and ask for help.
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