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Caregiving Monday: 9 benefits of hospice

 

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Hospice is a great resource when the time comes.  They provide equipment, supplies and assistance at no charge.  If you think you need hospice, I’d advice that you speak with your doctor about the manner.   Hospice is usually called in with the decline of that patient from cancer, Alzheimer’s and other diseases.  Your doctor or local hospice can give you more information.

Just remember to be thankful for all that the workers do.

Some of the assistance provided includes a nurse, social worker, aid to assist with bathing and other needs, religious advisor and prescriptions.

What are some benefits of hospice?

  1. They can guide and direct you through the process—they’ve done this before and are able to answer questions you have and direct your next hospice2steps.
  2. They help keep your loved one comfortable—whether at home, in a hospital, at a hospice center or in a nursing facility they will keep your loved one comfortable in these last days. Often this is in an environment that is familiar to your loved one.
  3. Personalized support and care—they have the resources and staff to personalize care that will best benefit your loved one and your family.
  4. Lessens the financial burden—hospice is normally covered by Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance companies and their expenses are often less than a skilled nursing facility.
  5. Respect for the Patient’s wishes—the family can focus on spending time with the loved one and not dealing with a lot of red tape.
  6. Numerous services—hospice provides numerous services such as spiritual care, social workers and counseling.
  7. Gives the patient a sense of dignity—the loved one is able to die with dignity instead of dealing with procedures that prolong life.
  8. Provides family counseling—provides bereavement and grief counseling for the family and other guidance may be available if needed.
  9. Wraps up the details—the hospice nurse and social worker often take care of a lot of the final paperwork that needs to be completed, lifting the burden from the family. This can include calling the funeral home and submitting a death certificate.

 

heaven

Caregiving Monday: 9 Things to Remember When a loved one is dying

end of lifeEventually our time as a caregiver will come to an end and our loved one will pass on.  This can be a very tiring and trying time.  This is also a bittersweet time.   The end of a painful journey is coming to an end but you are also saying a final goodbye to that loved one.

This can be a long goodbye at times lasting from a few hours to a few weeks.

So what should you do when your loved one is actively dying?

  1. Make the loved one your priority—take the time to spend with your loved one, hold his/her hand and talk to him/her.

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    Make the transition as peaceful and soothing as possible. Don’t leave anything unsaid.
  2. Remember hearing is the last sense to go—even if your loved one is in a common or sleeping s/he can still hear you. Take the time to say what needs to be done and make peace.  Don’t regret what is left unsaid.
  3. Cherish the time—cherish these last moments with your loved one. Take the time to reminisce, share memories and tell him/her how much you love him.
  4. Respect his/her wishes—a lot of decisions have to be made in a hurry during this time. Knowing your loved ones wishes help to eliminate chaos and confusion.
  5. Accept your loved one is dying—this is difficult and you will find yourself on an emotional rollercoaster, but allow yourself to feel and be honest about your feelings
  6. Maintain a peaceful environment—keep your loved one as peaceful and calm as possible. Any dissention should be taken out of the room.
  7. Follow your loved ones lead—is s/he discussing seeing a loved one or angels?, does s/he want to discuss about passing over? Go with what is comfortable for your loved one.   Don’t insist, “no you’re not dying” because s/he will know better.
  8. Remember to take time to also take care of yourself during this time.
  9. Stay in the moment—don’t try to get too far ahead of yourself. Take time to cherish the moment and don’t try to overanalyze everything.

 

How have you dealt with a loved one who is dying?

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Caregiving Monday: Grief in Alzheimer’s

Recently a dear friend of mine with Alzheimer’s mourned the loss of his wife.  He would often twists his wedding ring when thinking about her and asks questions.  There were times when he was quiet and other times when he had bursts of anger.  All of this is a natural part of the mourning process.

Alzheimer’s does not stop our loved ones from grieving when they lose a loved one, whether it is a sibling, spouse, or child.grief2

So how do we deal with this grief?

  1. DO NOT keep reminding them if they don’t remember.
  2. Allow them to talk about the loved one and share memories.
  3. Realize that any anger or showing out may be due to the grief.
  4. Try to redirect them if they become too agitated.
  5. Celebrate the life of the loved one.
  6. Understand that they will feel your loved one needs to grieve and will express the same steps in the grief process {denial, anger, guilt, sadness, acceptance}.
  7. Recognize signs, times of day or situations that may trigger the grieving process {especially anger and guilt steps}.
  8. Understand that some bonds and intuitions are strong that even without telling your loved one s/he may “know.”
  9. Remember that you are grieving also {most likely} and grieving together may be good for both of you.

Grief takes time for everyone to experience.  We’ve got to remember that the same is true for our loved ones with Alzheimer’s.  However, if they don’t remember, don’t keep bringing it back up.  Doing so will be like hearing the news for the first time each time.

How have you deal with grief?

sadness

Caregiving Monday: When You’re Next in Line

Within the last month, GG* has said goodbye to two of her first cousins.  One of these cousins she was very close to.  For the last year, all the two of them talked about was turning 90.  Their birthdays were only 29 days apart.  Sadly, our cousin died four days before her 90th birthday.            90

Her birthday was a bittersweet day for all of us.  We knew she was better off and no longer in pain, but we missed celebrating this monumental milestone with her.  When her son asked her what she wanted to do for her birthday, she said one word, “Home.” We knew she was at her eternal home and that was where she wanted to be.

sadness        With the loss of both of these cousins, GG said “I’m the oldest now.” What she didn’t verbalize, but hung in the air was the statement “I’m next in line.  I’m next.”

Just as our cousin was ready, we know that GG is ready when the time comes.  However, verbalizing this to ourselves isn’t easy.  The biggest lesson I’ve learned in caregiving, is you can’t sweep things under the carpet.  It’s best to deal with the current situation and accept it, instead of living in denial.

There are days when I am exhausted from caregiving, but I keep reminding myself to love and appreciate this time with GG*.  Her statement rings in my ears from time to time, but I chose to be appreciative for this time we’re together.

What are you thankful for as a caregiver?

 

*Name Altered

Tweetables:

When A Senior Citizen Loses All of Her Friends

The Loss of Friends for Senior Adults 

dove

Caregiving Monday: When Heaven Nears

When my grandmother, GG*, discovered her first cousin had passed, her response was “I’m the oldest now.” She has few first cousins left on either side of the family and is the oldest and next to oldest living on each side.

heaven               What GG did not voice, but the rest of us understood her saying was, “I’m next.” We know that she is ready, whenever the time comes.  She grows tired much easier now and has often told us in the last few years that she is ready.  Although we know she loves us, there are times when it is obvious that she is ready.

“I’ll be with God and the rest of my family,” she tells us.  Her faith in God is strong and she’s made it clear that she can’t wait to be with Him.   She also talks about her parents, siblings, and other loved ones with such longing that we know she’s ready.

When the time comes she will be missed by those she’s left behind, but we’ll know that she was ready and that we will see her again one day.

However, what happens when your loved one isn’t ready?  I sat with Mrs. W* and she wasn’t ready.  She was always afraid of death.  She was raised to believe that you got to heaven by good works and she felt that she was never good enough.

Thankfully she had family and caregivers that all believed in God.  We read to her from the Bible, sung hymns to her, watched church on TV and told her stories from the Bible.  At first she was not very receptive, but we never pushed her.  If she wasn’t interested we stopped, but we all continued to pray for her.            read bible

We noticed that she slowly grew more receptive and even asked for us to tell her more.  Finally someone asked if she’d like to accept Christ into her heart.  She said she would and was led in the sinners prayer.

dove           Even though she suffered from dementia, there were moments when she had great clarity and we could see the change in her attitude towards Christ.  When she passed away, we all had great peace because we knew that we would see her again one day.

Do you know where your loved one stands in view of eternity?  Do you take the opportunity to share Christ love with your loved one?

*Names altered

Tweetables:

When Heaven Nears

Preparing for your loved one for heaven