It’s frightening to learn that your elderly family member is facing a terminal condition. Your senior might not have had much warning, either, which can lead to a host of other difficulties. Coping with this news and with the illness itself is not easy but it’s doable if you put the right resources into play.
Get as Much Information as Possible
Even while you’re still dealing with your shock, you need to be learning as much as you can. It’s vital that you get as much information as possible about what’s going on and what this means for her. Take notes during doctor’s appointments or ask if it’s okay to use a voice recorder. Do some research and don’t be afraid to ask questions. You and your senior need valid information in order to make decisions about her future.
Determine How to Share the News with Other Family Members
Your senior may not be excited about sharing with other family members what she’s learned. But it’s important to try to share what’s going on as soon as your elderly family member feels ready to do so. This gives everyone involved a chance to help out in the ways that they can or to offer support. This isn’t an easy discussion, but it does need to be had.
Deal with the Emotions Involved
You and your senior are each likely dealing with a great many emotions about this, as are other family members. Dealing with those feelings is an important part of the process. Some people find that journaling helps, while others get relief from talking through what they’re feeling with people they trust. Give your senior a chance to determine what avenue is most helpful to her.
Find Solutions for Managing Symptoms
Your elderly family member may be facing a variety of different symptoms ranging from pain to trouble breathing or edema. Managing those symptoms effectively may involve switching from curative treatments to those that focus on your senior’s quality of life instead. End of life care is one option that may be beneficial to your senior, as it focuses on making sure that she’s comfortable and that her needs are met on a variety of levels.
It’s never easy to face the reality of a terminal condition. Your elderly family member may need plenty of time and space to deal with the news, even as she also needs to be making decisions about the time that she has left.