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Our conversation today came out of a discussion that Denise and I had a couple of weeks ago about a decision I made to withhold information from Richard after he completed his radiation and chemotherapy treatments where the oncologist estimated that he had 3 to 4 months to live. We also talked about a variety of other end of life topics that are often difficult to discuss, yet important to get out in the open.
Having a discussion with your partner or caree on such a sensitive topic can be difficult, but so essential in order to Be A Healthy Caregiver.
During our discussion, Richard spoke about his desires when his pain becomes too great, described what a good day feels like and shared what he whats from me as his partner and caregiver on a daily basis. Sometimes it is a simple as…’When something is wrong with me, you will be the first to know, until then, just let me be!
Denise and I talked about the challenge of letting go of my own beliefs and emotions when it comes to Richard’s wishes. As I mentioned on the show, Richard and I come for different faith traditions which has different perspectives and philosophies when it comes to end of life decisions. However as his partner and his caregiver, it is essential for me to put aside my own personal beliefs so that I can honor what Richard wants.
As Caregivers and life partners, we often forget that we are not the ones who are sick. While we share in our care and concern for each other, when it comes to these critical issues, it is important to follow the wishes of the one who is ill.
End of life discussions are never easy to have. Richard and I have both buried our partners and while we both have previous experience in this subject, it does not make it any easier. We just know that we have to have this discussion.
Find a way to have that end-of-life discussion…
Below are some great example of how to start this conversation along with some great questions to to get the conversation going provided by Denise Brown at Caregiving.com
“If you feel uncomfortable, simply say, “I’m uncomfortable with what I’m about to ask, but I’ve been giving some thought to your last months. I want to make sure I understand what you what and need. Would you be up to having a discussion?” And then go from there. The discussion is a process which means you might continue the conversation over several days and weeks and month. And, as your caree’s health changes, you’ll want to revisit the discussion to ensure your caree’s wishes haven’t changed.”
These questions can help during your discussion:
1. How do you want to spend your last months and weeks and days?
2. What do you want from me during your last months?
3. What’s a good day like for you? (This is a good question to ask regularly as the definition of a “good day” will change.)
4. Do you have any unfinished business you’d like to finish?
5. How do you feel about dying? What do you think happens after we die?
If you haven’t visited Denise Brown at Caregiving.com now is the time to do so. Richard and I consider Denise and all the members of Caregiving.com as our extended family. Denise is a true leader in the Caregiving community.
Remember…We Might Have Cancer…
- Caregivers: How Do We Listen at the End of Life? (thepurplejacket.com)
- Challenges of caregiving ‘weigh’ on Chris MacLellan (thepurplejacket.com)
- End of Life Wishes: Let’s Talk About It! (thepurplejacket.com)
- What Is The Best Thing For Me, The Caregiver? (thepurplejacket.com)
- Don’t Go It Alone! The Importance of Caregiver Support (babyboomersandmore.com)
- The Benefits (Gifts) of Caregiving (assistedlivingtoday.com)
- The Perfect Sunset (thepurplejacket.com)
- Planning for the Future with Your Loved One (lifefoneblog.com)
- 82: Who Would Have Known? (thepurplejacket.com)