Helping A Terminally Ill Loved One


Most terminal illnesses are a marathon, not a sprint. These illnesses often last months and can stretch into a year or more. So, life shouldn’t stop on the day your loved one receives a diagnosis. This is a time to revisit memories, create new ones and offer a helping hand. Here are five ways that you can help. Join in the discussion and add your ideas.

1. Face the depression. Most terminally ill people become depressed as they lose more and more of their independence and can do fewer things. In fact, many just want the end to come soon because they feel so helpless. You may also be depressed. If you can force yourself to look beyond your present feelings, you can help put depression on the backburner, at least temporarily. Revisit past events that they enjoyed. Talking about the past helps people realize that they did some worthwhile things. Tap your memory of days gone by to recall the many occasions that you enjoyed with your loved one.

2. Be there for your loved one. So many times, people become uncomfortable when they are around someone who is terminal. It’s understandable because people can lose a lot self-sufficiency as their illness progresses. Rather than concentrating on your discomfort, try to offer help. A meal, transportation, errands, etc. You can usually see what needs to be done, so just do it. Or ask what you can do. Help is appreciated. If you aren’t able to help with work, call or visit to lend an ear. So many times, we forget to listen.

3. Offer a reprieve. Can your loved one get out and about? If yes, try to take them somewhere they enjoy. A short visit to a park can work wonders in boosting their mood. Take advantage of creating memories before your loved one is too sick to leave home. A vacation, eating out, or other favorite outings. If they can’t leave home, bring some enjoyment to them. Rent a movie, bring flowers, or order takeout. There’s more than one way to help someone feel better, even if it’s just a short while.

4. Get Patient Scrubs®. When someone is weak or in pain, changing clothes can be a nightmare. Thank goodness, practical clothes are now available. Whether your loved one is in the hospital or at home, Patient Scrubs can come to your rescue. Plastic snaps make this two-piece set easy to change. But, you won’t have to change clothes for most medical treatments because Patient Scrubs were designed to allow easy access to the body. They go from home to medical treatments to the grocery store or other errands. The front of the garment completely detaches from the back, making it easy to change clothes.

5. Get Your Loved One’s Affairs In Order. It’s a difficult subject to raise, but there are things to think about when someone is facing a life-threatening illness. Do they have a will, a living will, long-term care insurance, preplanned funeral arrangements, etc.? No, it isn’t a pleasant topic, but your help in getting all their affairs in order may help ease their mind. If they don’t already have everything completed, you may need to obtain paperwork and research information to help your loved one during this difficult time. Your help means that their last wishes are carried out.

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