If you’re in a situation where your elderly family member is not able to communicate her end-of-life wishes as clearly as you would like, you’re in a difficult predicament. You may feel as if you’re stuck, with no real way to know what the right solution is. Relying on the information you do have can be an important part of getting to the right answer.
Rely on Past Conversations, if Possible
Think back to times you and your senior might have talked about this stage of her life. If you can remember even fragments of what she shared with you then, you may be able to extrapolate bigger answers now. You might also think about what she might have said about relatives and friends near the ends of their own lives.
Think about What Was Important to Her
When you can’t outright ask your senior what she wants, that can be extremely frustrating. One solution might be to sit and think about what was important to your senior throughout her life. What were the values that shaped her life? It can help also to talk to other family members about what they know to be true about what was important to your senior.
Determine How Current Treatments Will Affect Your Senior
Talk to your senior’s doctor about the treatments she’s currently receiving. Are those treatments working for her or are they causing side effects that are problematic for her? Sometimes treatments, particularly those designed to be curative, are not what your senior would want because of the discomfort or other side effects.
Assess How Accurate Signs of Improvement Are
There are going to be times when your senior’s health improves. It might even improve dramatically, causing you and other family members to get your hopes up. You need to talk to your senior’s doctor about how realistic and accurate those signs of improvement truly are. When you are prepared for the possibility that her symptoms may improve and then get worse again, it’s not such a shock to your system. You can also help to prepare other family members.
Part of being your senior’s caregiver at the end of her life is knowing that you really do know what to do for her. End-of-life care providers can help you to find the resources that you need to make sure she’s got the care that she needs and wants during this stage of her life.
If you or a loved-one are considering end-of-life care in Smyrna, GA, please call the caring staff at Arcturus Hospice and Palliative Care today. Call 678-383-9973 today to speak to our care team.
Kate Gorinshteyn is the director of marketing at Arcturus Health Care. Arcturus is a fast-growing Hospice striving to provide the highest level of quality care to patients faced with life-limiting illnesses. Our goal is to make each patient as pain-free as possible and give physiological, emotional and spiritual support to both the patient and family. We understand that the decision change from curative to comfort care is difficult, and our team is trained to help you every step of the way!
We are proud to make a difference in the lives of those we serve.