An aging loved one’s last stages of life can be difficult for family caregivers to manage. It’s best to prepare questions for your loved one ahead of time and put his or her needs above your wants. Here are a few tips to help you respect your elderly parent’s end-of-life wishes.
1. Develop a Good Approach
The outcome of an end-of-life discussion typically depends on the way the subject is brought up. For example, if you have lawyers and medical providers in the room, your loved one may become agitated, fearful, and irate. The end-of-life discussion should be between you, your parent, and your siblings. Start the conversation out by determining what your loved one’s wishes are in the event his or her health begins to rapidly decrease. Explain why this is an important discussion, and detail the benefits of having everything planned out. When it’s time to include attorneys and medical providers, bring them on board.
Many older adults opt for in-home care once their health begins to decrease. In Portland, home care agencies can be a great boon to seniors. With the help of the caregivers at Align Home Care, your aging loved one can lead a happier and healthier life. We offer a revolutionary program called the Balanced Care Method, which encourages seniors to eat nutritious foods, exercise and socialize regularly, and focus on other lifestyle factors that increase life expectancy.
2. Be Attentive
The end-of-life discussion should not turn into a debate. Let your parent speak his or her mind. If you interrupt your loved one, he or she may stop talking and avoid future discussions about end-of-life wishes. When your loved one starts talking, make sure to turn off your mobile device and eliminate background noises. Being attentive is one of the best ways to show your respect.
3. Keep an Open Mind
While having the discussion, listen to what your loved one truly wants to get a better understanding of his or her needs. Always show respect to your loved one when having discussions about his or her end-of-life wishes. Although you need to remain truthful when responding to these wishes, you should keep an open mind. Even if you don’t agree with your loved one’s choices, acknowledge those wishes and find a way to compromise.
4. Show Compassion
Facing the end of life can be difficult for everyone involved. During the end-of-life conversation, hold your loved one’s hand and reassure him or her that everything will be okay. From time to time, reach out and hug your loved one to maintain a warm atmosphere. Holding your loved one’s hand may seem like a simple gesture, but it can prove you respect his or her wishes.
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 are caring for an aging loved one and are feeling overwhelmed, consider hiring a professional caregiver to provide respite care. Portland families who want to avoid burnout can turn to Align 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.
5. Don’t Rush the Discussion
If your loved one becomes overwhelmed, stop talking and take a break. Your parent may decide to continue with the conversation after a short break or pick the discussion up at a later date. Discussing end-of-life wishes is a serious conversation, especially for seniors who have been diagnosed with chronic illnesses. However, you should never pressure your loved one when it pertains to his or her end-of-life wishes. Pushing the conversation is considered to be disrespectful and inconsiderate. Allow your loved one to choose the pacing when it pertains to discussions about end-of-life care, wills, executors, beneficiaries, and funeral wishes. Tackle one or two topics each week to make the conversation less challenging.
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, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Align Home Care, a leading provider of elderly care Portland, ME, families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s. To hire a professionally trained caregiver for your aging parent, give us a call at (207) 835-3490 today