Maintaining Emotional Stability Through a Terminal Illness of an Elderly Loved One
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to navigating the treacherous waves of emotions that come with a terminal illness, but as a senior care professional, you can help empower the families and friends of those who are dying. Senior care training programs must evolve to include a module on coping with family members.
Prevalence of Terminal Illness Among the Elderly
Heart disease, cancer, and chronic respiratory disease are the leading causes of death among seniors of all ages, according to the CDC. 21.7 percent of seniors over 65 have a fair or poor state of health, indicating a higher risk of being diagnosed with a terminal illness.
Staying Strong Through a Loved One’s Terminal Illness
You must be prepared to assist your family members in coping with the emotional upheaval that a terminal illness brings.
1. Acknowledge the Impact of the Terminal Illness
Many cancer patients prefer family members to be their sole caregivers; however, senior caregivers must recognize that a loved one’s diagnosis may have an impact on their own psychological and physical health, and adult children or other family members may put their own health on hold to care for their ailing loved ones.
2. Prepare for Changes in the Mood and Physical Health
When a senior family member is diagnosed with a terminal illness, they may experience a range of emotions, some of which may go unnoticed for weeks, according to the American Cancer Society. You must encourage senior caregivers to be proactive in offering assistance because what an older loved one wants may not always be obvious.
3. Strengthen the Support System
Joining a support group, which is available online, in person, and over the phone, may be another viable option for family caregivers who are willing to work together and with outside caregivers, such as agency employees. The simple act of speaking with others will help to build emotional strength and stability.
4. Develop Coping Strategies
Coping strategies vary and are dependent on each person’s preferences. For senior caregivers, coping strategies may include taking turns caring for a loved one, as well as sticking to a personal routine, such as grocery shopping, cleaning, or cooking.
5. Avoid the Temptation to Turn to Drugs or Alcohol
When emotions become too overwhelming, family members may feel like giving up, which can quickly lead to drug or alcohol abuse. If emotional instability becomes too severe, psychotherapy or prescription medications may help alleviate symptoms.
It’s easy to leave family members to deal with their emotions on their own, and while you can hope for the best, a terminal illness is life-threatening, so everyone in your organization must be prepared to help them stay strong.
How can you help a terminally ill person?
Here are a few pointers to help you maintain the authenticity of your visit:
- It’s OK to say, “Mary, I don’t know what to say or do, but I’m here and I care about you.”
- Listen u2013 If the person talks about being anxious, listen quietly.
How do you make someone with terminal cancer feel better?
Although each cancer patient is unique, the following are some general suggestions for showing support:
- Make plans.
- Be flexible.
- Laugh together.
- Allow for sadness.
- Check in.
- Offer to help.
- Follow through.
- Ask permission before visiting, giving advice, or asking questions.
How do you deal with a terminally ill parent?
9 Ways to Console a Dying Loved One
- Don’t Ask How You Can Help.
- Don’t Force Them to Talk About Their Situation.
- Listen with an Open Mind and Heart.
- Assist Them in Overcoming Their Fears.
- Assist Them in Maintaining Their Dignity and Control.
- Reassure Them That Their Life Matters.
- Share in Their Faith.
- Create a Peaceful Atmosphere.
What are the first signs of your body shutting down?
The following are signs that the body is actively shutting down:
- Weak pulse.
- Changes in consciousness, sudden outbursts, unresponsiveness.
- Noisy breathing.
- Glassy eyes.
- Cold extremities.
- Purple, gray, pale, or blotchy skin on knees, feet, and hands.
- Weak pulse.
What are 5 physical signs of impending death?
Five Physical Signs You’re About to Die
- Increased Physical Weakness.
- Labored Breathing.
- Changes in Urination.
- Swelling to Feet, Ankles, and Hands.
- Swelling to Feet, Ankles, and Hands.
What not to say to someone who is dying?
What not to say when a loved one is dying
- Don’t just focus on their illness.
- Don’t make assumptions.
- Don’t refer to them as “dying.”
- Don’t wait for them to ask.
How do you comfort someone who is dying of cancer?
Tips for Speaking with a Dying Person
- Tip #1: Follow the dying person’s lead.
- Tip #2: If possible, make it clear that you’re aware that the end is approaching.
- Tip #3: Deal with regrets by saying, “Please forgive me.”
- Tip #4: Let go of resentment by saying, “I forgive you.”
What qualifies as a terminal illness?
A terminal illness, also known as a life-limiting illness, is a disease or condition that cannot be cured and is likely to result in death.
What to say to a dying loved one?
What to say to a dying loved one in a letter
- Thank you for the…
- I’ll never forget when we…
- You are the reason I learned to appreciate…
- I’ve been thinking of you, and I remember when…
- I’m so grateful that you taught me the importance of…
- I’ve been
How do you tell someone they are dying?
What should I say to someone who is dying?
- If possible, have the conversation in a place that is comfortable for the person and where you will not be interrupted.
- Ask the person if they would like anyone else to be there.
- Use clear language.
What do you say to a patient when they ask you if they are dying?
u201cI can see you’re upset. u201d u201cI want you to know that no matter what happens, we’re committed to caring for you.u201d u201cEven though we don’t have a cure for your kidney disease, there are so many things we can do to help you u2013 to relieve your nausea, pain, and anxiety.u201d
Why does a dying person linger?
When a person’s body is ready and wanting to stop, but the person is not finished with some important issue or with some significant relationship, he or she may tend to linger in order to finish whatever needs to be finished.
What is the hardest age to lose a parent?
When Our Parents Pass Away, How Old Do We Have to Be?
- For those fearful of losing a parent, the most terrifying period begins in their mid-forties.
- By the age of 64, a staggering 88% of people have lost one or both parents.
Why do dying patients stare?
Their pupils may be unresponsive, so they are fixed and staring; their extremities may feel hot or cold to the touch; and their nails may have a bluish tinge; all of this is due to poor circulation, which is a natural occurrence as death approaches because the heart slows down.