Promoting Good Health During Terminal Illness

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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.


Death and dying are always tricky subjects to talk about. North American culture does not typically encourage discussions about the end of life and how to die a “good” death. 

However, death is a reality for all of us, especially people in hospice care and their caregivers. If you are a caregiver, it’s important to talk to your loved one so you can offer them the support they need. 

If you’re not sure where to start, here are some of the key elements that can help prepare a person with terminal illness to meet the end of life in comfort and with dignity.

Access to spiritual support

Facing the end of life can be profoundly painful on a spiritual level, and this pain is made worse by a sense of isolation. People who are terminally ill often feel like other people cannot understand what they’re going through. Simply acknowledging what your loved one is experiencing can provide powerful relief to them. It may also be helpful to seek the guidance of a clergyperson or other member of the faith community to support your loved one in facing some of the tough spiritual questions around death. A home hospice program can help offer these means of support.

Power over their circumstance

Different people will have different preferences around death. Some may wish to slip away quietly and alone, while others will want to be awake and surrounded by family. There is no wrong way to approach death, and an important part of “dying well” is having the autonomy to make important decisions for oneself. Don’t let your own ideas about how a loved one should pass away prevent you from hearing what they have to say about it.

A considered approach to medical intervention

Hospitals and emergency care environments are centered on keeping patients alive. Because of this, they are usually not ideal environments for meeting the end of life. Being thrust into the healthcare system can often have negative outcomes for a terminally ill person, in terms of increasing their suffering and subjecting them to unnecessary procedures. This doesn’t mean that they should never seek medical help; if your loved one is in extreme distress, emergency assistance may be the best option. In order to avoid having to make quick decisions in a high-stress situation, arrange for an advance directive so that you can advocate for your loved one according to their wishes.

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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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