Facing a Terminal Illness: Planning, Support, and Resources

Photo Credit: Liza Summer via Pexels
The article was written by: Kent Elliot (info@athomeaging.info)

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with a terminal illness, your world might feel as if it’s caving in on itself. You might find yourself in a state of shock and denial, or feel angry and depressed. These reactions are a completely normal part of the grief process. The end of life is an uncomfortable topic for many of us. Perhaps that’s why, according to Psychology Today, many people “avoid thinking about mortality by refusing to write a will” or hesitating to discuss end-of-life care with a parent or loved one.

Unfortunately, death is inevitable for all of us. Postponing end-of-life decisions only adds to our pain. If you or your loved one have a terminal illness, Christian Care Communities & Services presents some final arrangements to consider below.

Support and Resources

Life-threatening illnesses can trigger anxiety, depression, and insomnia among patients and their loved ones. Medications and procedures can have adverse side effects, while treatments can create medical complications. To maintain your strength, and care for your mental health and well-being while facing a terminal diagnosis.

First, understand that you’re not alone. Throughout this chapter of your life, you can turn to many compassionate resources and nonprofits for support along the way.

Meanwhile, if you have terminal cancer, our Christian Care Hospice may be able to guide you to some helpful resources, including grief and bereavement counselors. By getting the support you need during this challenging time, you’ll be able to take better care of yourself and your loved ones.

Planning for the End

Along with getting the support you need, you should also plan end-of-life arrangements, including life insurance, a living will, your estate, and even your funeral. Experienced professionals, like estate lawyers and accountants, can help you with some of the legal and financial considerations.

You might also talk to your primary care physician about getting a case manager or social worker. Hospice social workers, for instance, can help you plan end-of-life care for yourself or a loved one. If the terminally-ill person is still in the workforce, disability coverage might be an option, too. Planning saves time, stress, and money.

If you are a business owner, you’ll want to begin the process of transferring ownership of your business to a family member or selling the business. It is likely a difficult decision, and it may require a lot of paperwork on your end. If you haven’t already, consider hiring a lawyer to help guide you through this process and draft any contracts you need to complete the transfer.

If you foresee finances being an issue, this is also the time to start thinking about different options. Obviously, savings can help cover any debts or medical costs, but there is only so much. Many people turn to a reverse mortgage, a home equity line of credit, or even refinancing to help fund care. A home loan refinances, for example, can free up cash which can be used for things like medical bills or even modifications to the home to help make you or your loved one more comfortable. Whatever approach speaks to you, be sure to think through your choices, so you make the right financial decision for your family.

Living Life to the Fullest

After taking some time to grieve, you might find your “new normal” as you learn to make the most of each day. Find healthy activities to help ease your grief, like yoga, meditation, or spending time with loved ones. You can start by reducing stressors that may be present in your home, where you spend most of your time. Taking a few intentional steps to maximize the positive energy in your living space, like decluttering and cleaning, can reap big benefits.

Also, look at other areas in your personal and work life that are sources of stress and anxiety so you can strike a healthy balance. Understanding that few people completely escape stress, as it is part of life after all, and try to incorporate more humor into your everyday life. Keeping company with positive people is another strategy that can be mutually beneficial.

After Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg lost her husband, she launched a website called Option B, which helps individuals build resiliency in the face of tragedy. Sandberg recommends trying to “find meaning” by having a plan (or an Option B) for what you’ll do next, even after a tragic loss or a terminal diagnosis.

Ask yourself these questions to find meaning:

  • What do you want your life to mean?
  • How do you want your loved ones to remember you?
  • Is there anything you need to say to your loved ones?
  • How else can you make peace?

Pray or meditate on these questions until you’re clear on the answers. Allow yourself to work through the emotions of grief, including sadness, anger, and denial. Be patient with yourself. You’ll gradually work toward peace and acceptance. As devastating as loss is, it’s unavoidable. Thanks to supportive resources and a resilient mindset, you’ll eventually move through this chapter of your life.

Christian Care Communities & Services offer several lifestyle choices for their Texas residents, including skilled nursing. We also seek to empower our communities through outpatient and hospice care services. Our professional teammates are here to help you through your difficult times. Please contact us for more information.

 

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