The best decision I’ve ever made in my life is to literally board the first flight back to Auckland, New Zealand to take care of my grandfather who was in palliative care as soon as he was admitted. No one knew how much time he had left & I only had 1 thing in my mind- just to be there in front of him. I was by his side for about 8 weeks & I’m so thankful for that opportunity. I was prepared for him to go, but I was not prepared on the aftermaths of death. I learned a lot after his death but here are my 3 takeaways from spending some time at the hospice.
- Most people don’t see people as who they are but they see them as how they play a role in their lives. This creates expectations of people – which isn’t always a good thing. A normal functioning person cannot expect them to do literally anything. I feel like this concept is hard to grasp for some people. Daughters would expect their old father to still hold that “father” role. Some children can’t see the person for who they are, they see them for the role they played in their lives. Once you assign that role, you expect the person to follow through with that role’s responsibilities and expectations. I think its important to celebrate the patients lives as who they were, as all the roles they have played, as well as just celebrate them for being them.
- People need patience. The caregiver or relative needs to have full 100% energy, strength, and patience to take care of the elderly and not put the pressure on them to do something. Its important to keep encouraging them to move around and do activities but also important to let them know its okay that they’re unable to do something or remember something. Being restless with them will only upset them, they’re just big babies.
- People need Love.The caregivers are sometimes immune to the patient’s pain or symptoms. The patients enter that facility because they’re in palliative care so everyone is prepared that the person is going to die. I honestly believe that the patients can live longer if they were given a little bit of personal attention / love. Instead of everyone just doing all the “necessary” duties like feeding them, showering them, and giving them medicine. Those are important but it is also important to show them love human to human. Make them feel loved or happy in their last days. Even if it is a dementia patient who wont remember the conversation, deep down they’ll remember how you made them feel.