Being diagnosed with a terminal illness is a very difficult time, both for the sufferer and their family and friends. This news can be shocking and unexpected, but there are a few things you can do to help your loved one through this time and make sure that their last months or days are the best they can be.
1. Ask what they want
Give your loved one the chance to enjoy the time they have left by checking in with them and asking what they want. Do your best to facilitate their wishes and spend time with them doing things they love.
2. Create a wish list with them
Help your loved one put together a list of things that they would like to do. This could be simple things like visiting some of their favourite places or making sure that they have the chance to see everyone they would like to. If they are unable to travel, you could bring photos and printouts to try to bring their favourite places to them.
3. Maintain their dignity
It’s important not to treat your loved one any differently now that they have been diagnosed. Make sure to offer them the same respect and dignity as they have always enjoyed. This includes giving them privacy with screens, for example, while they change or wash. You could also take time to do things like paint their nails to make sure they feel as presentable as possible.
4. Share memories
Take some time with your loved ones to talk over memories and look through old pictures or videos. Focussing on happy times can be helpful and should help to remind you and your loved one of the best parts of life. You could even create a memory book or a scrapbook in order to preserve these stories and photos, which you can look back on at any time.
5. Offer additional help
If your loved one is struggling, they may not always admit it. You will need to offer extra care and make sure your loved one is frequently attended to. If you and your family find there are times when you can’t be there, you could opt for 24-hour care. These kind and considerate carers will make sure that your loved one is in the best hands and doesn’t have to worry about anything like food shopping or looking after pets during this difficult time.