Navigating End-of-Life Talks with Seniors: A Caregiver’s Guide

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Navigating End-of-Life Talks with Seniors: A Caregiver’s Guide

While discussing end-of-life wishes isn’t a conversation anyone enjoys, it’s important for seniors and their caregivers and family members to have open discussions as soon as possible. Understanding and respecting a senior loved one’s wishes can ensure his or her final months or years are as pleasant, comfortable, and stress-free as possible. This guide will help you address this sensitive topic and get the conversation started. 

 

Start the Discussion

It’s best to plan this conversation in advance and hold it in a quiet and distraction-free environment. One-on-one private discussions tend to work best. Because everyone handles end-of-life planning in their own way, give your assurance that you’ll honor and respect your loved one’s wishes by asking to discuss the topic rather than beginning with specific questions or concerns. 

A good way to ask permission to open the discussion is letting your loved one know you would be afraid of not knowing what he or she wants in the event he or she gets very sick. If you’re met with resistance about the conversation, simply plan for a different time in the near future to discuss these issues. 

Many older adults opt for in-home care once their health begins to decrease. Home care agencies can be a great boon to seniors. With the help of the caregivers at Assisting Hands Home Care, your aging loved one can lead a happier and healthier life. Our caregivers encourage seniors to eat nutritious foods, exercise and socialize regularly, and focus on other lifestyle factors that increase life expectancy.

 

Have Questions Prepared

Most people prefer to get everything out in the open all at once. While it’s important to allow your loved one to set the pace of the conversation, have specific questions in mind. Ask about the types of treatments your loved one would prefer if diagnosed with a terminal illness, and discuss long-term home care options as well as who should make financial and medical decisions if your loved one is unable to make them independently. 

Discussing end-of-life care with your elderly parent can take a toll on your own emotional health. Family caregivers need to care for their own wellbeing. If you’re caring for an aging loved one and are feeling overwhelmed, consider hiring a professional caregiver to provide respite care. Frederick families who want to prevent burnout can turn to Assisting Hands Home Care. One of our professional caregivers can assist your loved one at home while you take a nap, go to work, run errands, or go on vacation.

 

Listen

It can be tempting to try to debate about your loved one’s wishes, but resist the urge. Make an effort to really listen to what your loved one is telling you, and show your concern by nodding your head or holding your loved one’s hand. Make it clear that you consider your loved one’s feelings important, and verbally acknowledge your loved one’s right to make his or her own end-of-life decisions, even if you disagree with them.

It’s important to follow up this conversation by helping your loved one prepare an advanced directive and other end-of-life documents to ease the fear and anxiety he or she will likely experience at some point.Older adults living with serious health issues can benefit from professional in-home care. If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, medication reminders, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Assisting Hands Home Care, a leading provider of home care Frederick families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s. Call us today to create a customized in-home care plan.