Finding out that your loved one has a terminal illness is hugely upsetting. While you may feel scared and worried for your loved ones, it’s far more terrifying for them. It also doesn’t help that doctors cannot provide a solid statistic that will give them hope. With terminal illnesses, there is always a risk that the treatment will not work out. Your loved ones may fall into despair. They may even choose to reject treatment and live the rest of their life without help.
Therefore, during such hard times, your loved ones may need you more than ever. You can lend your support in numerous ways. A little good deed goes a long way, so don’t let them feel more alone than they already do. We can help you approach your relatives about such a sensitive topic. The following guidelines may help you talk to them and be a source of comfort for them. Here’s how:
- Talk to Them
When it comes to terminal illnesses, everyone tiptoes around the topic. While it’s good to be considerate about their feelings, you need to have a chat. Talk to them about how they’re feeling and what their plans are. Do they need help writing a will? Do they need help reorganizing their things? If your loved one discloses their source of illness comes from asbestos. You can always guide them to get legal help to find compensation for contracting cancer due to a company’s recklessness. Apart from helping them find legal assistance, you can also sit and talk to them about their life. A good conversation can be very comforting.
- Educate Yourself More
You need to know what is happening. Take the time out for yourself to study terminal illnesses. Find out what causes them and how painful they can get. It would help if you also ventured into reading about death. In comparison, not everyone who has a terminal illness may die. It is a good idea to prepare yourself for it. Death can be emotionally crippling. While your loved ones may not say it, they may hold the same fear. When you educate yourself, you can also help them. There are support groups available to help people talk about living with a terminal illness. You can help them connect with a counselor who can support their fears better. You can even buy books for them that can act as a self-help guide for them.
- Accompany Them to a Doctor’s Appointment
Terminal illnesses require numerous doctor visits. Doctors need to go over options as well as discuss a possible treatment route. For the patient, often, it is hard to hear the news. They also don’t comprehend what the doctor is trying to tell them. If you’re with the patient, you can help them register what is going on. You can even discuss all possible treatment options and aftercare at length. If the patient opts for chemo, you can sit with them through the sessions. Being there for someone is not easy. Terminal illnesses are even harder to deal with. However, by putting in small efforts every day, you can help them cope.
- Respect Their Sense of Dignity
Despite being ill, your relatives would still want their privacy. It would help if you didn’t talk about them or discuss them within hearing distance. If they’re sleeping, let them rest in comfortable silence. If your loved one has trouble looking after themselves, you can help them. However, don’t infantilize them. If they’re changing their clothes, close their door. If they are in a messy state, you can cover them up. If they feel nauseous, give them a bin to relieve themselves. Terminal illnesses are not easy to deal with. There are moments of vulnerability and despair. No matter what the situation is, no need to make someone feel bad for what they’re going through.
- Hire Help
While your loved ones can handle most of their responsibilities, they still may need help. Hired help can look after their house and cook their meals. If your loved one needs help in doing essential functions, they can find help. However, let your loved ones know that you’re bringing help for them. They may be resistant to the idea, but you can explain how assisted help can benefit. Make sure you keep tabs on your loved ones even after they have help. You can also look at a hospice as a possible alternative to get them help. The process of hiring proper help needs to be lucrative. Don’t just pay attention to affordability, make sure the worker is doing their job.
- Explore the Healthcare System
While there are doctor appointments in place, nothing should stop you from learning more about how you can help your loved one. Find out what insurances can cover the treatment. Do you need to pool money? Do some of your research and ask questions as frequently as you can. Not every option is viable. Some treatment routes are an option but not an intelligent choice. You need to help your loved ones make smart choices and find opportunities that can benefit them. The more research you do, the better you’ll look after them. It would help if you also keep your loved one in the loop. They need to know what is happening to them.
Terminal illnesses are hard to hear about. Anyone going through them is battling more than just their fears. It is usually during times like these. We need to pull together. Your efforts can be essential in helping someone cope with their diagnosis. Talk to your loved ones and give them company. You can even be a supporting shoulder when they visit their doctor. While you’re with them, don’t forget people need their space. Make sure you keep all the relatives in the loop of how to carry discussions and administer care. If necessary, hire help for them so that they can rest more and work on getting better. Finally, don’t forget to continue educating yourself and keep your emotions in check.