What To Say To Someone Who Is Dying

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None of us believe that we will live forever. We accept death as a fact that we cannot change, and we know that there will come a time when our loved ones will also have to face death. Confronting this loss is a challenge for those who will be left behind, but we sometimes forget that this ordeal is most difficult for person who is leaving. In these trying times, the support of our loved ones can be a great comfort to ease our passing.

But talking with someone who is about to die is not an easy task. Some physicians and specialized caregivers have had training to assist their patients, but most of do not have any idea what to say to someone who is dying.

Encourage Them Not To Be Alone

Our loved ones will always want to be there for us, especially during our final days. But many people who are dying refuse company, and wish to be alone. If you know someone who is like this, encourage them to accept the love and support that is available to them. Facing death will never be easy, but no one should have to face it alone.

“I Love You.”

Saying I love you to someone who is dying can mean everything. Kind words such as “I love you”, “Thank you”, and “Forgive me” are each a weight lifted from a heavy heart. It is a great gift for a person who is dying to know that they are leaving a legacy of love, gratitude, and forgiveness.

Remind Them of Fond Memories

Everyone has a special place in their mind, where they have saved up the most precious and powerful of memories. These memories are stories that paint a picture of who we are what is important to us. Encourage them to share these memories with you, and remind them of a few you might share. Talk to them about funny stories, embarrassing moments, and great accomplishments. Help them to remember that they have lived a full and wonderful life.

Tell the Truth & Be Kind

When a person is facing death, they will often begin asking the questions that they never had the courage to ask in life. Sometimes this puts us in a difficult situation, because the answer we have to offer may not seem like a very helpful one. We owe our loved ones the truth, but we also don’t want to hurt them. You should answer these questions truthfully, but with kindness. Avoid unimportant details that no longer matter or cannot be changed now in their final moments. Do not lie or offer platitudes, these are never what a dying person seeks. These questions can often come from a place of fear, or a desire to receive forgiveness. These emotions are a normal part of death, and you should allow them the time and space they need to understand and accept them. Let them know that you are there with them, and you are happy to talk with them about anything they are experiencing. For a person who is dying, the presence and kind words of a loved one are a gift and source of strength on their journey to acceptance.

Sundowner’s Syndrome – Everything You Need To Know

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“I have a stalker, a beautiful one; the sunset. Every day she’s there, watching me, whether I watch her or not.” –Jarod Kintz

While most people would consider a sunset a moment to enjoy, people who have Sundowner’s Syndrome see the sunset as a curse. For them, every day holds another anxious night where they can’t seem to get or stay asleep. Sundowner’s Syndrome can be difficult to understand and cope with, but there are a few techniques that can help ease the burden of someone living with this condition.

What is it?

Sundowner’s Syndrome is something that affects about 20% of people who have Alzheimer’s disease or dementia and can sometimes affect people who have had surgery with anesthetics. Scientists have done studies that seem to suggest changes to the brain’s circadian pacemaker might be the cause of Sundowner’s Syndrome. In layman’s terms, there is a group of nerves within our brain that helps our body follow a 24 hour-clock. When there is a change in this group of nerve such as the chemical imbalances that can cause Alzheimer’s, people can experience Sundowner’s Syndrome.

What does it look like?

There are a few reactions that you can expect when someone is suffering from Sundowner’s Syndrome. The most notable issue that occurs is that it can prevent people from sleeping when it becomes night time. Instead of sleeping, they may walk or pace around with some people having more severe reactions such as yelling or fighting with people who come in contact with them. People who have Sundowners Syndrome often become confused or anxious during sundown which can also cause the before mentioned actions.

How can you work with it?

While there is no cure for Sundowner’s Syndrome just yet, there are a few things that caregivers can do to help minimize the effects a loved one will experience.

Keep the same routine so as not to introduce something new. Patients with dementia or Alzheimer’s can have a difficult time adjusting to something that they find unfamiliar and this can make Sundowner’s Syndrome worse. If a method has worked, stick with it or if necessary only make small changes to have as little effect as possible.

Have a night light or lamp on during nighttime hours. Dark places or shadows can frighten or confuse sufferers of Sundowner’s Syndrome. Keeping a light on can limit this reaction. Also letting them sleep in a comfortable place of their choosing can help them sleep better and longer throughout the nighttime.

Practice a healthy diet. Things like caffeine or alcohol can keep people up through the night making symptoms worse. Limit caffeinated drinks like coffee or soda to morning or lunchtime hours and have a healthy dinner at night. If they need to have a snack after dinner, keep it light and void of sugar or caffeine.

You will not be able to rid your loved one of Sundowner’s Syndrome, but you can make their ability to cope with it better. Understanding what the condition does is the first step to understanding what your loved one is going through. With a little patience and guidance, Sundowner’s sufferers can rest easy each night and feel refreshed the next day.

What does it all mean? A Guide to Senior Living

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Some of the hardest decisions that we have to make in life involve the long term care of the people who we love the most. Medical science, education, and a greater emphasis on living a healthy lifestyle has caused a steady increase in life expectancy. While this means we are living longer and enjoying a greater quality of life, it also increases the chance that professional senior care becomes a necessity. Call it an addition to the modern circle of life.

Senior centers exist to provide the care that is needed to assure that people can continue to enjoy the greatest possible quality of life, despite whatever disabilities or medical needs they may have. The problem, however, is in deciding what type of center will best serve their needs. That is why we have put together this guide, to assist you in making those difficult choices Continue reading