As your elderly family member nears the end of her life, people may want to come visit her or spend some time with her but be a little afraid of saying the wrong thing. This is a common issue, but it shouldn’t keep anyone from spending time with your family member before she passes away. Here’s how you can help.
Avoid Forced Cheerfulness
If the people who want to visit your senior feel sad and worry that they should be cheerful or upbeat instead, that can keep them from visiting. The problem is that your senior doesn’t need cheerful attention that isn’t genuine. It’s okay to be sad and it’s okay to express that sadness. But trying to force a happy mood when that’s not what you’re experiencing comes across as fake and that can bring the mood down even more than being sad.
Let the Person Know How You Feel
It’s really hard to share feelings about issues at the end of someone’s life. Your family member and other people may have unresolved issues or feelings that haven’t been expressed. Encourage these people to share with your elderly family member how she’s touched their lives and what she means to them. This can be tremendously uplifting for both sides.
Ask about Specific Topics before Diving In
Another tactic that works well is to encourage friends and family to ask about a topic before diving in full steam ahead. For instance, asking if your senior wants to talk about how she’s doing can help to forestall awkward conversations that your senior might not want to be involved in right then. It’s also okay to start out by saying that they don’t know what to talk about and letting her take the lead.
Just Be There for Her
Above all, it’s important that the people who love your senior are there for her. Even spending time in silence can be just what both of them need the most. Make sure that you share with the people who visit what some of your senior’s favorite activities are right now so that they can enjoy the moment with her for as long as it lasts.
Once the other people in your senior’s life know that they don’t have to worry about saying the wrong thing it might be easier for them to relax during a visit. End-of-life care providers can offer them and you additional advice that suits your senior’s specific situation, too.
If you or an aging parent are considering end-of-life care in West Chester, PA, please contact the caring staff at Serenity Hospice today. Call (215) 867-5405.