It’s so difficult to know how to help your elderly family member when the end of her life is closer than ever. Her needs may feel more complicated to you and you may not be sure what will truly help her and what might be something that doesn’t really matter for her at the moment.
Provide Ways to Help Her to Ground Herself
The end of your elderly family member’s life is likely to be a disorienting time for her. She may be sleeping at odd times and groggy when she is awake. This can leave her unsure about what the day or even the time of day is. Using a simple sign with information about what the day and the time are can help her to orient herself very quickly when she is awake. Talk to your elderly family member about what the time is or whether it’s day or night, too.
Don’t Let Little or No Response Throw You
Toward the end of her life, your senior is likely to respond less and less frequently. She may have lucid moments, but those may become fewer and farther between. When you don’t get responses from her about her preferences or questions you’ve asked her, that can make you even more nervous. Work out a system with your senior where if she does have a preference, she can make a specific sign. Talking can take a lot of energy at the end of life, and sometimes a hand squeeze is easier.
Help Her to Adjust to Make Breathing Easier
As your senior edges closer to the end of her life, it might be more difficult for her to breathe easily. Adjusting her position can help, but you may need to help her to move often throughout the day. Pillows, bolsters, and even rolled up towels can all help you to position your senior so that it’s easier for her to get the air she needs.
Keep Blankets and Throws Handy
Your elderly family member’s ability to regulate her body temperature changes as she nears the end of her life. By keeping blankets and throws handy you can help to make sure she’s not too cold. Avoid using electric throws or blankets, though, as those can quickly become too hot for her. Lighter blankets are a good idea because they’re less difficult for your senior to shift off of herself when she gets too warm.
You don’t have to feel completely alone while you’re trying to keep your senior comfortable at the end of her life. Hospice elder care providers can help you to learn how to anticipate your senior’s needs and meet them in the best ways possible.
If you or an aging parent are considering hospice elder care in Upper Darby, PA, please contact the caring staff at Serenity Hospice today. Call (215) 867-5405.