Before funerals at funeral homes in Beltsville, MD, people that you love and care about will be diagnosed with a terminal illness with very little time left to live, will suffer from heart failure, will suffer strokes, or will simply be nearing the end of their natural lives.
You may be hesitant about spending time with people who are dying, whether they’re in the hospital, in hospice care (at the hospital or at home), or simply living out their last days at home. Not only may the prospect of death intimidate you, but you may feel like you will say or do something inappropriate or wrong.
However, you should spend time with them, no matter what your concerns or fears are. Here are some guidelines that should make this easier for you and for them.
One thing you can do when you’re visiting a friend or loved one who is dying is to find out how they are feeling physically and emotionally. This is extremely important because it gives those who are dying a voice and it gives you a potential opportunity to help them in tangible ways.
Ask them if they are in pain. You can make sure that their families and medical personnel know so that they don’t have any discomfort during the dying process. Ask them if they need anything. Maybe they want a book. Maybe they need to move so they’re more comfortable. Maybe they want you to convey something to another friend or to a family member. There are many ways you can meet their needs.
Ask them if you can help them with anything. They may not be able to hold a drink by themselves and they need your help in holding it for them. Maybe they need to go to the restroom, and you can get help for them to be able to go. Maybe their family has needs that you can help them with, and by helping their family, you are helping them.
When you’re visiting a friend or loved one who is dying, you should listen more than you talk. This means being an active listener. People who are dying often want to talk about their lives, their families, and their successes and regrets as they make peace with death. Sometimes they will share the history of their family as well.
All you need to do is listen and ask relevant questions about the things they are talking about while giving them the ability to do most of the talking. Don’t interrupt their stories and or try to change subjects, even if what they want to talk about isn’t comfortable for you. People who are dying are closing the last chapter of their lives and you can support them in doing that.
Another thing you can do when you’re visiting a friend or loved one who is dying is to touch them. Touch is a very comforting gesture that you can make to someone who is dying. It tells them that you care about them.
Don’t overstay your welcome, unless you’re an immediate family member, with a dying person. As the dying process progresses, the person will tire easily and everything they do, or even say, will require almost all their energy. If you can, do several short visits instead of one long visit. If death is close, let the person know that you appreciate and care about them and you will miss them when they are gone. Don’t be afraid to cry or say goodbye, because that can give both of your closure.