How to Support a Loved One Who is Dying

Updated on November 8, 2021

When someone you care about faces a difficult time ahead, it can be challenging to know what to do. One of the most trying experiences you’ll ever have to face is a loved ones decline. Knowing what to do or say to comfort them can be difficult. 

There’s no hard and fast rule to follow, but there are some steps you can take that will give them support and help you come to terms with what’s ahead. You might, for example, be able to help alleviate their fears by talking about legal guardianship AZ.

Don’t Ask How You Can Help

Your first instinct may be to ask how you can help. Trying to anticipate ways in which you can be helpful might be a better thing to do. Your loved one may not be able to articulate well enough to explain. They might also feel uncomfortable asking for help. If you think of a way you can assist, just do it. It might be cleaning their bathroom, making a meal, or simply taking them out for some fresh air.

Don’t Make Them Talk About Their Condition

When a loved one is dying, they will have talked endlessly about their condition with doctors and other health professionals. You might want to know as much as you can, but asking them to go into detail only highlights the issues and makes them feel less “normal.” Take comfort in the fact that when they’re ready to share, they’ll start the conversation.

Listen With an Open Mind and Heart

When your loved one is ready to talk, be prepared to listen, even if you’d rather avoid the subject altogether. They might not look to you for advice, but being a sounding board can be beneficial and help them think through the pros and cons of any options. Having someone they can talk to who won’t fall apart is vital. You can make your loved one feel more comfortable during the conversation by affirming their feelings and asking questions. 

Help Alleviate Their Fears

Your loved one may be harboring fears about the dying process or their death. You can help to address these fears by encouraging them to talk about their apprehension or fears. Then, try to alleviate their worries, whether you do that with encouraging words or physical action. 

Help Them Maintain Their Dignity and Control

It’s only natural to want to do everything you can for your loved one, but it’s also important not to treat them as an invalid or hover. Try to allow them to maintain a normal life by doing things for themself as long as they can. When your loved one does need more help to get from one day to the next, always be sure to ask their opinion and follow their wishes as much as possible. 

Reassure Them That Their Life Mattered

Depression and doubt often set in when a person is facing end of life, especially if they have always been an “in-charge” person. At every opportunity, express admiration and appreciation for everything they’ve done and let them know what your relationship has meant to you. You, family members, and friends must let them know how much you care for them. 

Create a Peaceful Atmosphere

Many people choose to stay in their own homes throughout the end of life. The last thing they want is to be surrounded by reminders of illness and death. However, if your loved one has to live in a hospice or healthcare facility, make sure their room feels like home. Surround them with their favorite things, such as pictures, artwork, flowers, music, and of course, familiar people. Keep their room free of clutter and harsh lights. Disguise or hide medical supplies if possible. 

Give Them Permission to Go

This can be one of the most difficult things to do for a loved one. They may worry about leaving behind the people who love and care for them. Assure your loved one that everything has been taken care of, family members will look after one another, and they will be remembered and cherished. One of the most supportive things you can do is to let them know it’s okay to let go when the time comes. By removing emotional obstacles, you’re helping to open the door to a peaceful passing. 

Throughout the year, our writers feature fresh, in-depth, and relevant information for our audience of 40,000+ healthcare leaders and professionals. As a healthcare business publication, we cover and cherish our relationship with the entire health care industry including administrators, nurses, physicians, physical therapists, pharmacists, and more. We cover a broad spectrum from hospitals to medical offices to outpatient services to eye surgery centers to university settings. We focus on rehabilitation, nursing homes, home care, hospice as well as men’s health, women’s heath, and pediatrics.