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Roles within a family may be affected with the diagnosis of advanced disease; there will be good days and not so good days.
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Relationships may change or become strained for many reasons including;
Try to maintain your relationships by using good communication skills and making time to communicate with each other.
Caring for someone at the end of their life can also be an opportunity to improve relationships, make stronger connections with others, and deepen the relationship you have with the person you are caring for. It can be an opportunity to reflect on the person’s life as well as create new and special memories together. It can be an opportunity for families to work together and strengthen family bonds.
It’s best to be open with children, rather than say nothing. Children are very perceptive and will know something is wrong. Providing simple and factual information in a calm and reassuring way is usually the best approach.
“Your grandma is very sick. Her heart is not working very well and she may not get better. The doctors are making sure that she has medicine so that it doesn’t hurt. But she feels very tired and needs to spend time in bed now.”
“She would love to see you and have a cuddle. Perhaps you could also draw her a picture. She would really like that.”
Kids will often ask whether the person will die. Younger children are often very matter-of-fact about death. An honest response to the question is generally best.
“Yes, she is going to die soon. It is very sad for all of us. We will miss her but we can still think of her often and remember her. Would you like to spend a bit of time with her?”
Kids may also feel overwhelmed or uncomfortable with the changes to the person, the equipment, or feel worried about them. Reassure them that the person is comfortable and the changes to them are a normal part of the dying process. Do not force them to be involved if they are uncomfortable.