It can be heart wrenching and uncomfortable to discuss end-of-life care with a loved one.
But it’s essential to give them peace of mind and honor their final wishes.
When you communicate with your loved one about what type of treatment they want and where they would like to receive it, you can lower their stress levels and maximize their comfort.
It may also make the future less stressful for you and other family members when you know what to expect. Often, a fear of the unknown or making the wrong decision heightens anxiety and depression.
By helping your loved one create their end-of-life plan, you help them alleviate unnecessary pain, discomfort, and worries.
It can be fulfilling to know that your senior loved one was able to improve their quality of life and maintain their dignity because of your support.
How to make the best decision when planning for end of life care
To make the best decision for your loved one, communicate with them about what would make them most comfortable.
For instance, if you know your loved one would like to spend their last days in their home, then home hospice may be in their best interest.
By transitioning to a community early on, your senior loved one will not have to worry about isolation or a lack of medical care. They will receive a high level of care right from the start of their stay.
While end-of-life discussions are not usually enjoyable, gathering as much information as possible about what your loved one wants improves your chances of making the right decision.
Perhaps you could start by asking them about the type of care they would like to receive and if they want a DNR (do not resuscitate), what type of funeral arrangements they would like, and if they would like to donate any of their assets to a charity.
Types of care
Some of the care your loved one receives will depend on whether they have a DNR.
If your senior loved one refuses life support measures, medical professionals will not help them prolong their life with machines or other devices. Still, they will help them manage their pain and offer them spiritual support and other medical care.
If needed, medical professionals will give the care listed below to seniors without a DNR.
For a senior whose heart or breathing has stopped, a medical professional will perform CPR. In some cases, this can help, but it can lead to more injuries and suffering in others.
If a senior is suffering from short-term issues, using a ventilator may be helpful. It will push air into the lungs and buy them more time to recover. For seniors at the end of their life, this will likely not be a cure, which is why some opt-out of this type of care.
When a senior cannot drink or eat, a feeding tube can offer them the nutrients they need to survive. With some seniors, they may need a feeding tube long-term.
Most seniors approve of hospice care. This type of care will offer your loved one pain relief and quality of life.
One of the best things about hospice care is that it allows your loved one to be at home, in an assisted living community, memory care community, nursing home, or hospital.
Hospice is not for all seniors, though.
To qualify for hospice, a senior must have a life expectancy of no more than six months. It is for those with terminal illnesses who are not expected to improve or recover.
In some cases, a senior improves and lives longer than expected, but it was designed to offer comfort for those in need of end-of-life care.
During hospice, a senior will receive care from doctors, nurses, spiritual advisors, trained volunteers, and family members. Together they provide much-needed medical, emotional, and spiritual support.
Palliative care/pain management
Similar to hospice, palliative care or comfort can be given in homes, nursing homes, assisted living, and memory care communities.
However, unlike hospice, seniors with all different medical conditions and illnesses can receive care, regardless of their life expectancy.
Palliative care can help seniors emotionally, spiritually, and physically—offering seniors pain relief, comfort, quality of life, and cures.
If your senior loved one is struggling to maintain their health and well-being, palliative care can come to them at any time.
Our compassionate staff wants our residents to feel as comfortable and relieved as possible.
Pet therapy in end-of-life care
Your senior loved one may miss an old pet or have a love for animals. If this is the case, they may be interested in pet therapy.
During hospice and palliative care, pets can be used as a source of comfort and joy.
Merely reaching out and petting a dog or cat can lower blood pressure, release endorphins, diminish pain, lower anxiety, and reduce loneliness.
Pet therapy may even help seniors feel more comfortable and confident with their doctors and reduce sadness and fear in children watching a senior loved one at the end of their life.
The Kensington Redondo Beach—Your partners in care
We understand how planning for end-of-life care can be an emotional and overwhelming time for you and your family.
The Kensington Redondo Beach has made it Our Promise to love and care for your family as we do our own. Like you, we would expect our loved ones to receive the best support, comfort, and treatment available.
Our assisted living and memory care communities offer around-the-clock care, on-site nurses, medication administration, rehabilitation services, geriatric therapy, specialty diets, and life enrichment activities, allowing your loved one to truly “age in place”.