When your reaches the end of their journey, you will feel a variety of emotions - all of which are normal.
You may even be in the position of being the primary decision-maker in their last days. If this is the case, it can be hard to separate your emotions from your
Luckily there are ways you can honor your ’s to the best of your ability. In this article, we’ll explore these four ways. ’s wishes.
is an emotional time, but having difficult conversations in advance can help you to make that time, quality time, with your . The focus of every decision should be based on your ’s comfort and quality of life.
Advanced care planning and can be key areas to review towards the end of your ’s life.
As part of , they may have also appointed for accounts and policies. Having these documents in an accessible place will keep you from having to struggle to locate them during a . completed such as a and durable , you can use these to guide your decision-making.
If you have not had previous conversations with your The Conversation Project. This tool can guide you through challenging conversations and can even be helpful for people living with dementia. This brings that decisions are being made in alignment with their beliefs.
about wishes, consider using an online tool such as
Your may have made advanced decisions that can feel uncomfortable to follow through with.
For example, if they opt not to have life-sustaining treatment or during the use of comfort medications. Some find it difficult to assist in the use of heavy medications and may find it difficult to accept their reducing the amount they are eating and drinking.
If your has signed paperwork in advance outlining their wishes, you can feel in knowing that you are making decisions that align with their values and respect their wishes.
Regardless of whether or not someone documented their plans,
often includes the use of comfort medications and the acceptance of bodily changes. The goal should be to maintain your ’s quality of life and comfort, rather than prolonging life. Some forms of life-sustaining treatment, or not using comfort medications, can negatively impact the quality of life of your .
should be able to guide you in understanding the potential outcomes.
When we care deeply for someone, it can be difficult to accept the concept of stopping life-sustaining treatments. Even if your was explicit in their wishes, you may find it emotional and hard to follow through with them. Lean on professionals for support, guidance, and direction when possible.
’s may refer you to a hospice agency to provide additional support to you and your . Hospice agencies specialize in and they are generally covered by insurance. Services they provide include:
Comfort Medication Management
A hospice worker supports you in ensuring your is comfortable and their needs are met during their final days.
The hospice workers will also be there for you to support you in decision-making through validation and expertise. They may be able to assist in fulfilling any
of your . Hospice agencies are generally able to continue providing bereavement support after your has passed.
For some, as they get to the end of their life, their spiritual beliefs may strengthen. Those who previously were not religious may find themselves seeking a spiritual outlet.
If they are religious, provide them with what’s needed for in their religion. It may not be your religion or align with your values but will provide significant comfort for your .
Your may have left instructions regarding their preference for burial or . They may have also left for a or . In some cases, these may be written, for arrangements in order to avoid stress and during a .
While some people plan their based on personal preferences and values, others may center theirs around religious practices. They may rely on their Proxy or a to follow through with their wishes.
When it comes to
, here are some options to consider:
can choose to have a public service or private service with just and . If someone is engaged in their , the will likely have the instructions for your left for them to follow.
Being mindful of your ’s , not only respects the but also provides closure at the end of a journey.
may be saddened and mournful of their loss, but others may feel relief that their is out of pain and at peace. There may be times when it does not feel possible, or it feels uncomfortable to follow through with the wishes of your .
Respecting the wishes of and after death, shows respect for your and offers closure to the journey.
Laurel McLaughlin has over a decade worth of experience in various sectors of the elder care field- home care, senior living, and non-profits. She has a Master’s in Gerontology and is a certified dementia practitioner.
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