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Facing Terminal Illness Together: 4 Steps for Families to Take

Are you one of the 42% of people in America with a friend or relative suffering from a terminal illness? Are you asking yourself how you can help? Are you worried about treating them differently or saying the wrong thing?

Does the idea of preplanning funeral arrangements make you uneasy? Or is it something with which your friend or loved one would appreciate assistance?

These are questions you may be asking yourself and losing sleep over. Facing terminal illness is daunting for sure, but it doesn’t have to weigh heavy on you. This guide for families will help you and your loved one move forward together.

Support for Those Coping with Terminal Illness

If you or a friend or loved one is living with a terminal illness, you’ll have a wide range of emotions and many questions on dealing with terminal illness. What is the best way for you to handle being diagnosed with terminal cancer? What can you do to help someone with facing a diagnosis from the terminal illness list? There are no right or wrong answers just some smart advice.

1. Be Supportive

Just being there for someone means a lot. Spend time together. Be willing to listen. Remember you don’t have to say anything to show you care. Being there when you’re needed speaks volumes.

Try to treat a terminally ill friend or family member as normally as possible. They may not want to focus on the negative and may want to try to go on with the time they have left as if nothing has changed.

However they choose to handle the diagnosis, it’s your job to support them.

2. Learn About the Illness

It is helpful for both the patient and the family to learn all you can about the illness and what to expect. Educate yourselves on any and all physical and emotional changes associated with the illness and its progression.

The doctor should be able and willing to answer your questions and offer resources to help.

Learn about any available treatments to extend the time left and improve it as much as possible.

3. Recognize that Everyone is Different

Remember that everyone will deal with terminal illness differently. If you have never been through it, you don’t know what’s normal and what isn’t. Be patient with yourself and your family members. Any of you can be overcome with emotions without expecting it.

The emotions can range from rage to depression to fear and then some. Forgive yourself for your reactions and learn to manage your feelings and help a loved one cope with their feelings as well.

4. Prioritize What is Important for the Time Left

Do you and your family want to spend the time left chasing a cure or receiving treatments? Do you want to tick things off of your bucket list? Do you want to spend as much time together doing things that you’ll enjoy and the family will have to remember?

Helping You Cope

Now you’ve learned some ways to help you and your family deal with terminal illness. We can help you with the next steps in the terminal illness process from pre-planning to dealing with grief. Visit us today.