Helping Terminally Ill Parents: 3 Barriers to Good Communication

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Excellent communication is essential to helping terminally ill parents. It’s also one of the most challenging things to achieve when you and the rest of your family are grieving.

You’ll know from other people’s testimonies that this can trigger plenty of arguments and cause strained relationships. Those are the last things you want to happen as you’re figuring out how to best care for your parents during their last months.

Although there’s no guideline to address each family’s unique situation, they all have some things in common when they’re in this trying time. Knowing what they are and how to solve them can help your ill parents and the rest of your family deal with the situation better.

Neglecting the Patient’s Opinion

Family members tend to make one decision after another without consulting the patient. Remember that while you’re all grieving, your parents are the most affected by the illness. The choices you go for might not provide the most amount of comfort or pleasure despite your best efforts.

Prepare to have many hard conversations with your parents and expect that not all decisions are set in stone. You could all agree to avail of treatment for the next two months, but your parents can catch you off-guard by deciding to cut it short. They might want to go back to your house in Indiana and ask you to look up hospice care services instead.

Choose to make peace with this fact instead of holding on to your frustrations. Let your parents decide how to spend the last days of their lives.

Imposing Different Cultural and Spiritual Beliefs

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It’s not uncommon to belong to a family with different cultural and spiritual beliefs. This is especially true when you’re dealing with different generations. You might have several stressful debates about conventional and religious practices without arriving at any decision.

Your best option is to ask your parents about their wishes. These include things done before and after death. While your parents are the priority, don’t forget that the rest of your family is also grieving.

You can discuss a compromise like holding another religious service after your parent’s death. The purpose of exercising these practices serve to help your family members cope with their sadness. It’s best to let go of who’s wrong and right and think instead of how you can support each other through your loss.

Letting Emotions Run High

Helping each other deal with your emotions can make it easier to have fruitful conversations about essential matters. Different people handle their grief in different ways. Some people will take comfort in denial, and others stay in shock for a while before they experience the full impact of their impending loss.

Making sure that you tackle essential discussions when everybody’s emotionally available reduces the chances of disagreements. Even when there’s tension, it’s good for everyone to remember that you’re all in pain. It’s crucial, now more than ever, to practice patience and expect people to have emotional responses to the situation.

This is the time to stick together as a family. Dealing with a terminally ill parent is a rollercoaster ride. When you’ve done everything to provide the best care for your parents, all that’s left to do is make good memories while you’re all still together.

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