Fall River Jewish Home

How to Offer End-of-Life Support

If you’ve talked with veteran hospice staff about the months of the year where the most people pass away, many will tell you it is January and February. The National Center for Health Statistics agrees. January typically has the most deaths and February comes in a close second. That means caregivers across the state of Massachusetts may be struggling to come to terms with the loss of a loved one or the impending loss of a loved one.

What can you do to comfort someone who dealing with end-of-life issues?

The aging experts at Fall River Jewish Home have a few ideas to help:

1.        First, don’t pretend their loved one is going to get better. Or try to convince them they will recover. False hope only adds to their grief.

2.        If you are a religious person, know they may be looking for spiritual support. Don’t press your beliefs on them unless they seem interested, but people dealing with end-of-life issues often have a heightened interest in spiritual things. They may welcome a visit from your rabbi or priest.

3.        Offer your support in a very real way. Don’t just say, “Let me know if you need anything”. Instead say, “I’m going to the grocery store and the produce store tomorrow. What can I bring you?”

4.        If they are able and interested, try to get them out of the house or hospital for a while. Offer to take them out for ice cream or a coffee at Starbucks. They may just need a short break to lift them up.

5.        Look around when you visit. Are there things around them you can help with? Laundry, dishes, or yard work? They may be resistant to asking for help, but appreciate the friend who just pitches in to do whatever is needed.

6.        Listen. They may just need a shoulder to cry on.

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