Finding out that your father is terminally ill can be an overwhelming emotional experience. While it is extremely difficult to accept an impending loss, it is important to avoid letting emotions control you so that you can make good decisions. Controlling your emotions will also enable you to give your parents the best care and compassion when they need it most.
There are many aspects to caring for a terminally ill parent. These range from helping children deal with the issues involved in dealing with parental care stress. Here are six ways to cope if your parent has been diagnosed with a terminal illness, from diagnosis to hospice care.
The final diagnosis is likely to cause a host of feelings. These range from anger, depression and sadness. Most experts agree that the first response after anticipating grief is to seek help, especially from someone who has gone through the same situation. Talk to a family member or friend, and don’t be afraid to enroll in a support group to get help.
Helping children cope
Don’t forget that you are not the only one agonizing over the imminent death of a parent. Your children, regardless of their age, are dealing with grandparents’ deaths. Young children need to understand that death is permanent, and once they are dead, the grandparents will not return. According to Cancer.net, a good way to help kids deal with this is to create a memory book while Grandpa is still alive.
Make time to say goodbye
Unlike a sudden and unexpected death, terminal illness gives those who are about to be left behind a chance to say goodbye to them. This is the opportunity to get rid of anger and make amends. For some families, saying “I love you” doesn’t happen often, so this is an opportunity to tell a parent that you care.
Learn about the disease
Chronic illnesses can cause mental and physical symptoms that are difficult to understand. It’s always difficult to see someone suffering, especially the person you care about, but learning about the illness and what your parents are going through can help you know what to expect. If you do not understand something or want more information, ask your parent’s medical care provider.
Research elderly care
It gives a terminally ill person entering hospice care the opportunity to receive palliative care from a qualified health care professional either at home or in a home-like environment. If this type of care is not affordable, you may be eligible for help from Medicare or other healthcare entities.
Provide emotional support
As much as you are concerned about dealing with your feelings when dealing with impending death, chances are your parents are struggling as well and need emotional support. Even if your parents seem to accept their illness, thinking about the end can be frightening. Make sure you listen carefully to your parents’ final wishes and pay attention to any concerns they have. Remember that you are an advocate for your parents to help them gain a degree of peace around their situation.
Facing the true prospect of death is difficult for almost anyone, but using the above guidelines, you will not only be able to handle grief better, but you will also be able to help your loved ones.