It’s hard to imagine when you are healthy that a time will come when you will face death and be unable to speak on your own behalf, but that time will come for everyone. Having a plan in place will help determine the quality of end of life and inform others who will see to your care.
The elderly have special needs that can often be overlooked, so it is important to know what is required to stay independent and mobile for as long as possible. As frailty increases so will the need for extra care. It is important to match the level of care with your location.
This a role we will all need or do. Sometimes both …. so it behooves us to learn and respect this role. Caring for others is one of the most compassionate things we will ever do in our life. Caring for others also means caring for ourselves and knowing our limits.
You could also call this “right” sizing, making your life functional and manageable while eliminating what no longer serves your lifestyle. This may simply mean removing clutter and adapting your home so you can age in place. For others it may mean moving to a smaller place and being closer to family. This opens up new possibilities.
An advocate, coach, non-medical assistant who will support patients and families with the transitions, challenges and opportunities that happen at the end of life. Certified doulas who are specifically trained in end of life care offer many services which include identifying gaps in service and empowering patients to articulate their end of life wishes.
When given a terminal diagnosis, it is normal to have feelings of fear and concern for an unavoidable, existential threat. Yet there are ways to reframe and even grow from the experience of dying. There are techniques, medications, therapies and counseling to help anyone “frozen in fear”.
Many changes have happened in the funeral industry as families want to be more involved in the planning and implementation of final rites. Early planning helps families navigate the confusion that inevitably comes after someone dies.
Many people think grief is a onetime event. In reality it comes in waves long after initial tears are shed. Grief is an individual process of mourning that varies in time and intensity. It is important to reach out if you feel unable to cope.
Palliative care is not hospice care, though hospice care uses a palliative approach. Best medical outcomes include palliative care with curative treatments which continues when curative treatments are no longer effective. Hospice called earlier is proven to increase the quality of life.
Never before have we seen so many excellent books and authors sharing their point of view on death and dying. This is not an exhaustive list, but they are varied and proven. They are practical and uplifting. Watch for future updates.