Your presence is everything.
Dying people are often afraid of abandon-ment. They often gain tremendous comfort if
their loved ones keep them company - talking, watching movies or simply reading together. Of course, some people would just
as soon be left alone. The only way you'll know for sure is to ask.
Be prepared to listen.
Those who are dying may want to share their fears, discuss their uncertainty
about the future and talk about their concerns for those they're leaving behind.
Keep in mind, however, that men and women, whether they're the caregivers or those receiving
care, often express themselves in different ways. Men, for example, have a tendency to give advice when someone really
just wants them to listen. Women, on the other hand, may push people to "let it all out."
Be honest and share information.
members naturally want to protect their loved ones, and sometimes they do this by withholding difficult information
- news about lab test results, for example, or practical details about real estate or finances. It's usually better to be
forth-right. People who are dying need to retain a sense of control, and this means being included in family discussions.
Give a lot of reassurance.
is rarely the primary thing that people fear most later in life. Rather, most people don't want to be a burden
on their family, nor do they want to be in pain.
Take the time to let the dying person know how much you value him and how grateful
you are for the opportunity to spend this last time together.
Everyone has regrets - things they wish they'd done, old rifts they wish
they'd healed, places they wish they'd seen. It's not always possible to fulfill last wishes for a dying person, but sometimes
you can. So it's worth asking if there's anything you can do.
Respect the need for privacy.
attuned to the dying person's needs. Many people don't want others to see them in poor health.
Get help for the things you can't
Home hospices can help with medications and bumps in the medical road. A lawyer can help
with legal issues, and the funeral director can help with burial planning.