Asking other people for help
Caring for a loved one who is dying is a rewarding and challenging experience. Unless you’re a nurse, people are not trained to do it, so it’s common to feel overwhelmed. Humans don’t do well with uncertainty and the last days of someone’s life can have vast amounts of it. Family Caregivers frequently want to know how long their loved ones will live for or exact times of death and this is just not possible. So, while it’s uncomfortable to have all this uncertainty, be aware that this is common, and most people experience varying levels of this. This can make us feel helpless and out of control. Death is out of our control but comforting and being there for our loved one is the best we can offer, so focus on all the things you can do and the things you know.
Who can I ask for help?
The Cottage Hospice service offers you, your family and your loved one a space that mirrors a home setting. The Cottage Hospice is different in that it doesn’t look like the hospital or hospice setting we are used to. This also means that the care for your loved one is provided by family caregivers, offering a unique and intimate space to spend with your loved one as they die.
Providing care can seem overwhelming. While you or others are providing care for your loved, who is looking after the family at home? Or walking the dog and cooking meals? The list is endless.
Ask family, friends or neighbours to consider helping with bringing in food for you and your loved one, where appropriate, and fresh clothes for you both.
Ask for help with those daily chores as mentioned above like the school run or dog walking or even pet sitting.
Often people around us want to help but want to give you space to focus on being there for your loved one – you can only ask, and you might be pleasantly surprised by the answer.
At Cottage Hospice
With the uncertainty of the exact time your loved one will die it’s really useful to have some sort of rota system in place with all the family and friends. This will ensure that the days and nights are broken up; giving everyone a chance to do their part but also giving you and everyone else time to get some rest.
It’s good to talk
It can be tricky, discussing the end of life with our loved one and with friends and family. Sometimes family caregivers feel like they must protect people from sad news. With lots of experience in this area, we at the Hospice believe that keeping information from people, of all ages, can lead to more stress for you, the caregiver and your family and friends.
Talking and informing people gives you the chance to offload some of the burdens you might feel but also this can open up discussions around how the people you are telling could help, even if it’s just a cup of tea and chat.
Our volunteers and staff are available to offer advice to you on issues like this. You can also call and speak to one of our counsellors or a member of the chaplaincy team.
All patients, families, carers and family caregivers can access counselling and support, regardless of which other Hospice services they are using. You can get in touch with the Hospice in the Weald Counselling and Support Service, or the Chaplaincy team.