While no one likes to think about their loved ones dying, once your loved one gets to a certain age, thinking about their death might be something that you can’t avoid anymore. Especially if they are getting sick or more frail and require additional care that you can’t offer anymore, you might find yourself facing the reality that they might not be with you for much longer.
If this is something that you’re having to cope with, here are three tips for dealing with the failing health of an elderly loved one.
Know That Having Complicated Emotions Is Okay
At a time like this, it’s very common to feel like you have very complicated emotions about what’s going on in your life and the life of your elderly loved one. For example, you might feel sad that your time with them now seems so limited while also being happy that you can still be with them. Additionally, you might feel like what they’re going through is unfair.
All of these feelings are consistent with anticipatory grief. This means that you see that something is coming in the near future that you’re already grieving before it happens. And while feeling this grief is normal, navigating it can be challenging. Try to be gentle and patient with yourself as you cope with whatever it is you’re feeling. And if you have someone you can talk to about what’s going on, try relying on this person to help you work through your feelings as much as you can at this point.
Don’t Compare Yourself To Others
There are likely other people in your life that are going through exactly what you’re going through as they see the failing health of your loved one as well. But just because they are experiencing the same events as you doesn’t mean that you’ll both be reacting in the same way.
Rather than comparing what you’re feeling to what they’re feeling, try to support both yourself and your other loved ones who might need added support at this time. Offering service to others as they grieve might be able to help you through your own grieving process.
Learn To Give The Care, Comfort, And Support Needed
If you’re still able to offer care to your aging loved one as their health is failing, being able to do so might be just what you need to continue feeling close to your loved one while they are still with you.
There are plenty of ways that you can offer support to your loved one, even if you’re not able to give them all of the care they need. Doing things like helping them to eat, adjusting their pillows, helping them manage their medications, and just holding their hand in a reassuring way can be helpful to your loved one and make you both feel closer during this difficult time.
If your elderly loved one’s health is getting worse by the day, consider using the tips mentioned above to help you get through this time.