Maintaining your connection with your family member as she nears death is just as important for her as it is for you. That connection allows both of you to feel safer in these moments and to know that you’re each supporting the other during these precious moments.
Just hearing your voice is one of the easiest ways that you can help your senior to know that you’re there with her. If you don’t know what to talk about or you feel “talked out,” there are still ways that you can share your voice with her. Choose a favorite book or even just read happy news from the daily newspaper. Remember to take care of your voice and to drink plenty of water.
Use Gentle Touch
If your elderly family member has difficulty hearing or if you need to take a break from talking, use gentle touches to connect with your family member. Touching bare skin can be the best form of connection, but if your senior is sensitive or is cold, then touching her over clothing or a blanket can be the next best way to connect.
Listen, if Your Senior Can Communicate
Not all people who are near the end of their lives are unable to communicate. Many still have plenty to say and the ability to say it. If that describes your family member, make sure that you listen. There may be quite a bit that she wants to share with you while she’s able to do so.
Go with What Your Senior Seems to Need
What works best for your family member may be a mix of all of these options. She may need more from you emotionally in order to connect at some times and less at other times. Be sure that you take care of yourself while you’re taking care of her, too. Periodically take some breaks, which is easier to do if you have end-of-life care on hand to be able to do that.
Don’t Worry about Rules
The big thing to remember at this point is that there aren’t really any rules you need to be following right now. If you and your family member are able to connect through music, use that. If she needs lots of quiet and whispered voices, then use that. there’s no one right way to help her with this transition.
Maintaining that connection with your family member when she’s passing away is definitely something that you can still do. It may feel like a different connection than you’ve had in the past, but you are still able to let her know you’re there for her.