Caring for a senior relative when they are coming towards the end of their life can be a highly emotional and challenging time. Even though we all know that the older members of our family won’t be with us forever, it can be difficult to not only accept that their departure could be soon, but also to know how to ensure their final months, weeks, and days are as comfortable and pain-free as possible. So, we have put together this ultimate caregiver guide on how to look after and care for a senior relative at the end of their life.
Make Sure They’re Comfortable
In many cases, those who are coming towards the last stage of their life experience some form of illness or serious health problem. This could include a range of conditions, such as dementia, or various forms of cancer. However, for some seniors, they simply find it more difficult to do the simplest of tasks that are necessary to look after themselves now that they are older. Therefore, it is important that you ensure they are comfortable, whether that means contacting your local doctor or medical center to get access to pain relief or having the equipment in place at home to make their day-to-day life easier.
Don’t Try to Do it Alone
It is a harsh reality to discover that your elderly loved one is dying and it can leave you with a sense of responsibility. No matter how unwell or serious your relative’s condition is, you may feel like it is your job to take care of them during their final days. While this is a common feeling amongst caregivers, it is important that you don’t try to do it alone. End of life care can often involve around the clock care, which is impossible for one person to manage alone. So, make sure to reach out to other members of the family and support services in your area to help carry the load.
Ensure They are Eating Healthily
A major part of caring for someone is ensuring that they are eating healthily and as regularly as possible. However, this can be difficult as, often, towards an individual’s final days, their appetite reduces significantly. But you should try to encourage them to eat when they can and try to keep them hydrated. If the person you are caring for has difficulty swallowing, then use a thickener like Simply Thick. These products thicken foods and drinks to make it easier for your senior relative to swallow allowing for food consumption.
Think About Temperature
As your relative comes closer to their final days, it could become more difficult for them to be able to tell you if they are feeling too hot or too cold. So, it is important that you keep this in mind when looking after them and that you watch out for clues. For example, if your relative keeps trying to take off a jacket or blanket, consider the fact that they could be too warm.
Having to consider end of life care for your loved one can be distressing and emotional, but by doing your research and being prepared, you can make this difficult situation more manageable and allow for more quality time together during their final days.
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