If you are one of many Connecticut residents who is a caregiver for someone suffering a terminal illness, you understand how physically and financially challenging, as well as emotionally traumatic, such situations can be. If your loved one suffered an asbestos illness due to railroad work, you likely recall the day a doctor diagnosed his or her condition. From then on, your priorities centered on helping your family member enjoy the highest quality of life possible in the time he or she has left.
It can be difficult to know what to talk about or not talk about as you assist a terminally ill loved one with his or her daily needs. Current health condition is a factor to consider when determining what types of conversation to have. Your loved one will be dealing with physical, emotional, spiritual, financial and, perhaps, legal issues in the weeks or months ahead. Building a strong support system can be helpful to both of you.
Is your loved one cognitively impaired?
Asbestos-related illnesses may adversely affect your loved one’s cognitive function. If he or she has suffered memory loss, it won’t make much sense to talk about his or her childhood or other past experiences. However, if your loved one’s memory remains intact, it can be quite soothing and therapeutic to inquire about family heritage, favorite memories, military service or any topic that is part of his or her unique history.
A bit of humor can go a long way
As symptoms worsen and time passes, you and your loved one will face many challenges and serious decisions. It can alleviate stress to take time to laugh together and allow him or her to talk about happier times. For instance, you can ask about his or her first car, first date, or other memories of youth or even share a few jokes.
When you feel the time is right, you can ask your loved one about any special instructions regarding his or her passing or whether there is anyone you should contact on the person’s behalf, such as a member of the clergy or even a Connecticut attorney, if warranted.
As you try to provide for your loved one’s medical needs as well as to help him or her come to terms with a terminal illness, you may want to reach out for support yourself. It can be helpful to talk to others who have experience as caregivers for terminally ill patients, especially those whose situations involve asbestos-related illnesses from railroad work.