Caring for a loved one near the end of their life can be challenging, especially for your loved one who doesn’t want to feel like a burden. During this delicate period, creating meaningful memories and engaging your loved one in various activities can be a beautiful way to cherish the time you have left together. As your loved one begins to decline, their habits may change, and they may become less active. For example, they may not eat as much or do what they usually do. Many of your loved ones may attempt to mask their decline (such as hiding soiled clothes) to maintain their appearance. They will often take independent living as far as they can. The best thing for us to do is to be as compassionate, patient, and dedicated as possible. That said, here are some activities you can do with your loved one to keep them stimulated for their time here. Remember, you know your loved one best, so do what you think would be appropriate for their ability.
- Providing physical contact such as hugs, gentle massaging, or holding hands can help your loved one feel treasured. Combing their hair, rubbing, or massaging their scalp is also some suggestions you can try with your loved one. Touch can be essential in comforting your loved ones and letting them know you are there for them.
- Make a calming atmosphere for them and set the mood for a pleasant conversation. Add soft lighting in the room, grab some pillows, and make some tea! Spend time with your loved one and enjoy each other’s company.
- Play music at a low volume and listen to some tunes together. Sometimes, this can ease their pain and relax them. You can even sing to them or along with them. Play music that they like, it may remind them of some hidden memories that they can share with you from their childhood.
- Try to keep communication open with them. They may not be able to converse. However, they may be able to shake or nod their head. Offer to read to them or talk about stories from the past and experiences you both had together, such as past or current events, games you attended, and crafts you made.
- Look through old photo albums and reminisce about the past! Talk about old friends or family members and fun memories of them.
- Find a cozy blanket you can cuddle in and read a book together or even a newspaper or magazine.
- You can also go on YouTube and watch a movie or show with them. Find something you both like and talk about the plot, characters, and favorite scenes! Bonding over a shared experience can help foster feelings of connection and love.
- Most importantly, laugh together. Crack jokes and visit your loved one often. Sometimes just being together can be enough joy and comfort for them.
Saying goodbye is undoubtedly the most challenging part. However, acknowledging and accepting reality opens a space for a heartfelt farewell. While sadness and tears may naturally surface, expressing your love to them is essential. Most importantly, assure your loved one that you will be there for them and that, no matter what, everything will eventually find its way to a place of peace and solace.