Nobody wants to talk about death—especially not when the people we love are concerned. However, all of us will have to face the passing of some of our loved ones at one point or another. If one of your relatives or friends is nearing the end of their days, here is some advice on how to make the last part of their life as comfortable as it can be.
Don’t just wait
As crude as this may sound, when faced with the fact that someone they love is about to die, some people end up spending all their time feeling angry, feeling sad or just simply waiting around in a sort of daze for the ordeal to be over. While it’s incredibly important to give yourself time to process your emotions around the impending death of a loved one, don’t forget to enjoy the time you have left with them, as short as it may be, and to help them enjoy it as well. Hospices and palliative care providers can help you to make sure that your loved one is cared for in every way possible; this hospice in San Diego County, for example, offers patients and their families a whole host of services, from physical and psychological therapies to spiritual care, pet therapy and more.
Talk to your loved one
When faced with a loved one who is ill and dying, some people clam up: out of fear of saying the wrong thing, they end up saying nothing at all. However, your loved one will probably appreciate hearing the sound of your voice as they prepare to die. Even patients who are in a coma may well be able to hear the sounds around them, according to the latest research. So, talking—and listening—to your loved one in the final weeks and days before their death, sharing your love for each other and reminiscing all the good memories you made together, will probably make the dying person happier and more serene, and will definitely be something you look back on with fondness.
Consider your loved one’s environment
This is not a point about carbon footprints or recycling—the environment, in this case, will be the room or rooms that your loved one occupies in the final days of their life. There are many ways in which you can make this environment more calming and peaceful.
One of these ways is aromatherapy, which means exposing the patient to certain smells. It is usually practiced through the use of essential oils, which are burned through an oil burner or a scented candle, diffused through a vaporizer, or placed on a pillowcase. Your loved one might particularly appreciate scents that remind them of their childhood and which will create a Proust effect for them.
Another calming device is music, and you might want to call a Threshold Choir to be at your loved one’s bedside in their final days. These volunteer choirs provide the beautiful, heartbreaking service of singing to the dying and to their caregivers.