Family Planning for End-of-Life Care

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Coping with the death of a family member

Allow Yourself to Grieve

One of the most important things you can do when faced with the death of a loved one is to allow yourself to grieve. You may experience shock, anger, sadness, and can even feel lost or helpless. This is normal, but it is necessary to express these feelings because keeping them in will only lessen your ability to cope.

Talk to your family and friends about what you are feeling. It is likely that they are feeling the same emotions as you and talking about it will help you cope and find closure. Talking about your loved one after their death is also a great way to honor their memory and help you appreciate the moments you had with them. There are other ways to honor them as well, including donating to their favorite charities, planting a tree in their memory, or spending time with family to share stories and reminisce with photos of fun times. These kinds of activities, while they may seem difficult, will help you find closure and acceptance.

When you experience the death of a family member, you will be filled with many emotions and may also be required to do things like make funeral arrangements or work with their estate planners to carry out their final will. During this time, it is imperative that you take care of yourself and not neglect your needs – eat well, get plenty of rest, and try to continue doing the things that bring you joy. Whether this is exercise or spending time with friends, this will help you cope and keep a level head while dealing with other responsibilities.


Discussions about end of life can be uncomfortable and awkward for everyone involved. No one wants to think about the time when a loved one will no longer be here. 

Difficult as they are, these conversations are important and the earlier you can have them, the better. Decisions about a family member’s final wishes are easier to make before their health takes a turn or an emergency happens. Putting one’s affairs in order allows for the final days and weeks to be enjoyed as much as possible. 

So how do you begin to have these important conversations?

Starting the conversation

Starting the conversation The hardest part of any project is getting started, and that’s true for planning for end of life, as well. After you’ve “broken the ice,” you’ll likely find that the discussion gets much easier from there. 

Ideally, you would gather all the relevant people together so the matter can be discussed at one time and place. Sometimes the best option is to plan to do it during a gathering at the holidays. If it can’t be done in person anytime soon, don’t put it off. Schedule a group call or an online conference call instead. A detailed email is also an option and has the benefit of putting your words in documented form, which minimizes the potential for confusion. 

No matter what method of communication you ultimately choose, what’s important is that you have the conversation and explore potential options for hospice care.

Key points to touch on

You’ll want to make sure all the major issues are covered. This will include at least the following points:

Going forward

Once you’ve settled the legal and practical matters, take some time to think about how you would like to spend the remaining time you have with your loved ones. This may include doing favorite activities together, looking through scrapbooks and photo albums to reminisce about happy memories, and expressing your feelings to each other.

We can help

Our dedicated and experienced team at Westlake Village Hospice can help you navigate these difficult discussions. Please feel free to reach out to us for advice and support.

Official Member of the California Hospice and Palliative Care Association & the Ventura County Homecare Association, INC

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Westlake Village Hospice, Inc provides home hospice care for patients in Los Angeles, Arleta, Calabasas, Canoga Park, Burbank, Chatsworth, Encino, Glendale, Glenoaks, Granada HIlls, Hansen Hills, Hidden Hills, La Crescenta, Lake Balboa, Lake View Terrace, MIssion Hills, North Hills, North Hollywood, Northridge, Pacoima, Panorama City, Porter Ranch, Reseda, San Fernando, Shadow Hills, Sherman Oaks, Sun Valley, Sunland, Studio City, Sylmar, Tarzana, Thousand Oaks, Toluca Lake, Toluca Terrace, Tujunga, Valley Glen, Valley Village, Van Nuys, Vergudo, West Hills, West Toluca Lake, Winnetka, Woodland Hills, Ventura County, Antelope Valley, and the San Fernando Valley.
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