When a family caregiver is told that the cancer treatment an aging family member has been receiving is no longer working, the news is both sad and frightening. You want to use the time they have left well and ensure they receive quality care. Sometimes knowing what to expect can help you to do those things since it allows you to spend less time wondering and more time focusing on your loved one.
How Care May Change.
Once the medical team decides that treatment isn’t working, and a person’s cancer can’t be controlled, the treatment usually stops and so does medical testing. However, that doesn’t mean the person no longer needs care, only that their care changes. Now, medical providers focus on keeping the person comfortable, reducing pain, and controlling symptoms. Depending on the situation, the person may be able to remain at home. Other times, they may go to a hospital or other facility. Services for grieving, psychological issues, and spiritual needs are available to people nearing death.
If the senior is able to remain at home, you may wish to hire in-home help through an elder care agency to assist. Elder care agencies can match the patient’s needs with a member of their staff. Services provided through an elder care agency are non-medical, but essential for quality of life. Elder care staff can help the senior with personal care, such as bathing, grooming, toileting, and dressing. They can also do things around the house, such as cleaning and cooking. Elder care can also be an excellent social support since they give the older adult someone to talk to and spend time with, rather than being alone.
Signs That Death is Near.
As death draws closer, you’ll notice certain changes in your loved one. Some of the things you might see are:
- Profound exhaustion and worsening weakness.
- Increased time spent sleeping or lying in bed.
- Trouble talking and concentrating.
- Little interest in eating and some trouble with eating or swallowing.
- Weight loss.
- Muscle loss.
- Less interest in the outside world, such as news, sports, or entertainment.
- Less interest in things they used to find important.
In the final days, you may see the following:
- Slowed breathing and pauses between breaths.
- Dry lips and mouth.
- Skin feels cool and may turn bluish, especially in the extremities.
- Breathing that is noisy and sounds congested.
- Confusion about who people are, the time, and the place.
- Drifting in and out of consciousness.
Nothing can make the loss of a loved one easy, but knowing what to expect can help. If you’re facing the end of an aging family member’s life, an elder care provider can allow family members to spend time with the person without having to worry about care aspects. The elder care provider can handle those things while families make the most of these last days.
If you or an loved-one are considering professional elder care in Quakertown, PA, talk to Unlimited Staffing Solutions. Specializing in Home and Community Based Support Waiver Services Since 2001. Please Call Us for Your Home Care Needs (215) 447-7133