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Making arrangements for a loved one who has a serious illness can be a difficult time for both of you; you’ll likely feel the beginning stages of grief, which can lead to stress, anxiety, and fear, and your loved one may be feeling a mixture of sadness and worry in regards to their final wishes. There’s always a lot to think about and take care of, such as life or health insurance, hospice care, funeral arrangements, and paying for it all, and it’s difficult enough to consider those factors when you’re not also dealing with the heaviness of grief. Together, they can become overwhelming.
Fortunately, there are many things you can do to help your loved one get through this difficult time, and to reduce your own stress and symptoms of grief. By keeping your loved one comfortable and safe, you’ll give yourself peace of mind, so consider their environment. Sometimes a terminal illness requires inpatient care that only a hospice can provide, while other times a sick individual wants to remain at home for as long as possible. You can also talk about their wishes when it comes to a will or final arrangements; while this is often a difficult conversation, it’s an important one to have.
Some things to consider for your terminally ill loved one include:
Create a calming space
There are many reasons why terminally ill individuals choose to stay at home as long as possible rather than going into a hospice care setting. Some want to remain in a comforting place as long as they’re able, while others feel that the cost would be too much of a burden for their loved ones. Creating a comfortable, calming space for your loved one will help them relax and boost their mental health at home, so make sure there are plenty of photos of loved ones around, as well as books and other items to help them stay occupied (such as puzzles or DVDs). If they have pets, it’s important to ensure that the animals stay, as long as they don’t pose a health threat for your loved one.
Prepare for a tough conversation
It’s never easy to talk to a loved one about difficult topics such as their final wishes, but it’s crucial to have these conversations so that you can prepare as much as possible. Some individuals who are living with a terminal illness have very specific thoughts about what they want for their funeral, memorial, and/or burial, and there may also be life insurance considerations to make as well, meaning you’ll need to know where certain paperwork is kept. Start by asking your loved one to talk about their will or to let you know where you can find important documents in the event that they are unable to make decisions for themselves.
Think about costs
Many people have a life insurance policy that will help cover the cost of a funeral, but others don’t, or perhaps they bought a policy that lapsed long ago. It’s imperative that you learn all you can about your loved one’s final preparations so you’ll be ready for the costs associated with inpatient hospice care or a burial. Health insurance often won’t cover the cost of extended hospital or hospice care, meaning someone will be responsible for those bills out-of-pocket. Knowing what to expect will help give you peace of mind.