Last night I posted about how to make day to day life a tad easier when having to come to terms with being a carer and keeping your loved ones occupied. Here is the second and final part.
- Make it easy. Having days out doesn’t mean a convoy or great amount of planning. One of our favourite past times is throwing a few sandwiches together (or buying them from your local supermarket) and finding a car park or viewing point to park up. There’s usually a cafe on hand or maybe even an ice cream van now the weather is getting better. Just changing the scenery can bring about a positive mood but it can also make the day feel a bit more lived than simply sitting at home watching the clock tick on. Usually your loved one will wear themselves out a bit more than usual and end up with a good nights sleep, but overall you’ve managed to share some valuable time together watching the world go by. Extra note. Take a book to fill the silence and even allow yourself a nap or two in the car.
- Stock it up. Someone dealing with a terminal illness tends to lose weight quite rapidly as the sheer act of breathing speeds up the metabolism causing increased weight loss which impacts on their general strength and energy. There’s some handy ways to add calories to everyday meals (skimmed milk powder, cream, full fat butter etc.) plus there are calorific supplements available (though be careful as some aren’t necessarily built on calories but more general nutrients). We’ve found that having biscuit tins, sweets and a regular cup of tea handy helps on adding up the food intake, but be thoughtful in trying not to overwhelm them with massive portions of anything. Little and often goes a long way. And you always win when dipping into a bag of Jelly Babies.
- Find support. This may be an obvious one but can quickly become the bottom of your to do list. If you haven’t done so already then make sure you gain contact with your local Hospice. I know it’s a horrible thought but remember, these people are specialist in Palliative Care and can provide a wealth of support that you might not have even considered. From respite care to helping with your benefits, a full medical team is at hand to give you all the love and care you need in this difficult time. Plus, they don’t treat you as a carer nor your loved one as a patient. They want you all to have the best quality of life possible so let them in and be amazed at what wonderful things they can contribute to your life.
- Speak out. It’s important to talk about certain things that you may be avoiding. End of life wishes such as Do Not Resuscitate orders, funeral arrangements, burial or cremation arrangements and even who gets what is something nobody wants to have to worry about or deal with when it’s too late. Spend a little time thinking these things over and you’ll be prepared for when questions are inevitably asked. Death is terrifying but unfortunately it is inevitable. Don’t make it harder by avoiding it, in some aspects embrace it and don’t allow it to let you live in fear. As time goes by it will become a little easier to come to terms with and less of an emotional mountain to climb.
And of course, each person is unique. As time goes by you’ll find the little knacks at making life a little easier for you and your loved one. But it’s important to note that not every day is perfect, many are a struggle and many do mean having to witness things you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy. However, no one is dead yet. A little motto I tell myself repeatedly to get past the awful and to welcome, accept and bathe in the good moments, the conversations, the company and the fact your loved one is still very much still here. I hope in some aspects this has helped and as I said before I’d love to hear from you all as Carers on how you emotionally and physically cope with the huge demands in your life.
But for now, welcome to April. A new month, a new challenge but with added sunlight and a passion for living with what we have at hand.
Love and Light.