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How to Support Those (Including Their Love Ones) Facing Death or Illness

Have you ever felt at a loss on how to support someone (including their loved ones) who is facing death or illness?

Callanan and Kelley offer this wonderful advice for those that wish to support those facing death or illness in their book Final Gifts: Understanding the Special Awareness, Needs, and Communications of the Dying:

Not long before her death, Jean wrote, "When the friend who was my main caregiver had to be away for a few days, people told her if I needed anything I was to call them. Several told me so personally. But only one person made a specific offer.

" 'I know you go to church when you're able to,' she said. 'I'd like to take you on Sunday. I'll be over for you at ten. Don't worry if you decide at the last minute that you can't make it. It won't inconvenience me at all.'

"That call was a real relief," Jean wrote. "I can't take everyone up on casual offers that require me to ask for help, but I really appreciate it when someone suggests something they can do and does it!"

If you want to help with practical chores, offer specifically rather than generally. Don't say, "Call me if I can do anything" or "Let me know if I can help." Not only are dying people too overwhelmed to make lists of tasks for someone else to do, they may not know what needs doing, or may wonder if you're simply being polite. Instead, offer something concrete. "I know you enjoy music," you could tell a friend. "May I bring over some CDs or tapes tomorrow?"

Offer to do the grocery shopping. Propose to vacuum or dust the house. Always give the sick person the option of canceling at the last minute. And by adding, "If that's not what you want, tell me what else I can do," you ease the way for the person to make a request.

Counseling Can Help

Grief counseling can help the sick and dying and their loved ones cope with the devastating changes that are now impacting their lives.

It's time to heal...

Please contact Suzanne at (720) 443-1480 or email me to schedule an appointment.