Terminal illnesses or long illnesses are difficult for your senior and for the entire family. These drawn-out situations can mean that you and your extended family begin grieving long before your senior passes away and keep on grieving for a long time to come. As your senior’s caregiver, you might wind up being the point person for helping everyone to learn to manage.
Everyone Feels the Piece that’s about to Be Missing
All of the people who care about your family members can experience her as a part of their puzzle. Knowing that she’s ill and that she’s nearing the end of her life causes them to notice that piece and how it fits into their life and their puzzle. Everyone is going through that same discovery process, even if they’re not talking about it with other family members.
Longer Illnesses Skew the Grief Cycle
When your senior experiences a sudden illness that quickly sends her downhill, the grief is equally sudden. With a longer illness, though, that grief cycle is more likely to be skewed a bit. Your family members may not know how to cope with a lingering illness that causes them to evaluate this impending loss for possibly months. That’s where finding bereavement assistance early on can help more than you expect.
Everyone Is Going to Have a Different Approach
Not everyone is going to grieve the same way. Some family members will want to tell all the stories that they remember about your senior while others may feel as if hearing just one of those stories might shatter them. If it’s possible, try to respect all of these different approaches and let each family member grieve in their own way.
You’re All Dealing with Loss
The bottom line is that, even in your own ways, you’re all dealing with a tremendous loss and it’s going to be difficult. If you can all put aside separate differences, that’s for the best, especially if your elderly family member hasn’t passed away just yet. Remembering the good and using appropriate coping mechanisms is important.
You may know all of this and yet find it difficult to get beyond your own grief to help your other family members deal with their feelings. Hospice elder care providers can help you and the rest of your family to find the grief management tools that you need in order to get through this as well as possible.