Dealing with uncertainty
Humans don’t do well with uncertainty and the last days of someone’s life can have vast amounts of it. Family caregivers frequently want to know how long their loved ones will live for or exact times of death and this is just not possible. So, while it’s uncomfortable to have all this uncertainty, be aware that this is common, and most people experience varying levels of this. This can make us feel helpless and out of control. Death is out of our control but comforting and being there for our loved one is the best we can offer, so focus on all the things you can do and the things you know.
Who can I ask for help?
Providing care can seem overwhelming. While you or others are providing care for your loved one, who is looking after the family at home? Or walking the dog and cooking meals? The list is endless.
Ask family, friends or neighbours to consider helping with bringing in food for you and your loved one, where appropriate, and fresh clothes for you both. Ask for help with those daily chores as mentioned above like the school run or dog walking or even pet sitting.
Often people around us want to help but want to give you space to focus on being there for your loved one – you can only ask, and you might be pleasantly surprised by the answer.
If you’re staying at Cottage Hospice
With the uncertainty of the exact time your loved one will die it’s really useful to have some sort of rota system in place with all the family and friends. This will ensure that the days and nights are broken up; giving everyone a chance to do their part but also giving you and everyone else time to get some rest.
It’s good to talk
It can be tricky, discussing the end of life with our loved one and with friends and family. Sometimes family caregivers feel like they must protect people from sad news. With lots of experience in this area, we at the Hospice believe that keeping information from people, of all ages, can lead to more stress for you, the caregiver and your family and friends.
Talking and informing people gives you the chance to offload some of the burdens you might feel but also this can open up discussions around how the people you are telling could help, even if it’s just a cup of tea and chat.
Our volunteers and staff are available to offer advice to Hospice in the Weald patients, their families and caregivers on issues like this. All our patients, families, carers and family caregivers can access counselling and support, regardless of which other Hospice in the Weald services they are using. You can get in touch with the Hospice in the Weald Counselling and Support Service, or the Chaplaincy team.
Find out more about our services and the community we serve by visiting www.hospiceintheweald.org.uk.