What’s your advice to those caring for someone that’s dying?
quote bubble icon with the title caregiver quotes

We recently asked our community members what’s your best advice for someone who’s currently caring for a loved on that’s dying? Here’s what you had to say.

Bobbi Carducci: Be with your loved one every moment you can. Having been at the side of my mother and years later, my father-in-law, I had the opportunity to hold them as they passed. My mother saw three angels without any wings waiting for her. Rodger had a dream that God told him his job here was done. I believe them both. As hard as it is, being with someone you love and care for as they leave this earth is a precious gift.

Linda D: Let them talk, and just listen.

Elizabeth B: Listen to them when they say they are ready. Help them prepare their way.

Rick Lauber: Enjoy what time you have left with your loved one by visiting. Ask any unanswered questions so as to not have any regrets. Respect that person’s final wishes (read and understand the Will). Make plans and decisions with other family members about a parent’s forthcoming death. Keep a senior as comfortable as possible and maintain his/her best quality of life. Expect to feel anticipatory grief (expecting the loss of your loved one) and take whatever time you need to heal (grieving is a personal process and each one of us copes differently). Find a healthy means to manage your own increased sadness and stress that you will often feel at this time.

Connie R: My husband passed away nine weeks ago while in hospice. We kept a normal routine for both our sakes. I encouraged those who knew him to stop in, cried when he cried and I was just there. Each person is unique – you’ll know what to do.

Christy P: Keep them as comfortable as possible, encourage laughter, and make sure they feel well-loved and preserve as much of their dignity as possible. That’s really about all you CAN do.

Sue P: Allow them to talk about dying.

Donna ThompsonI think one tricky aspect of caring for a dying person is balancing the ‘heavy’ conversations with the light ones.  People who are dying will want to discuss their death and the meaning of their lives, but not all the time.  They will want to live in the moment and then reflect on the past.  I think it’s really important to look for signs of a dying loved one’s comfort zone in the moment and take their lead.  In a palliative situation, the caregiver is the orchestra and a dying loved one is the conductor.

Janie B: Make the journey beautiful. Play music. Cook favorite foods – the smells speak to their memories of family and of love. Light candles and talk. Fill the room with life even in the end. You must be part of the journey.

Becky T: There is no one size fits all. At the end my husband could not hear. All you can do is the best you can with what you know at the time. Most of all be kind to yourself.

Carol C: Live in the moment try not look too far ahead. Worry steals the joy in your life. Be there to share the time given to you and them.

Written by Liz Imler
As our Community Manager, Liz focuses on The Caregiver Space's daily online happenings. She also works behind the scenes, fixing bugs and making sure the site delivers our members a clean and seamless community experience. Before coming onto The Caregiver Space, Liz served as a Community Manager in the health and finance industries. She holds an MA from New York University and a BA from George Mason University, and splits her time between Virginia and New York. Her passions include writing, music, and travel.

Related Articles

Popular categories

Finances
Burnout
After Caregiving
Housing
Relationships
Finding Meaning
Planning
Dying
Finding Support
Work
Grief

Don't see what you're looking for? Search the library

Share your thoughts

32 Comments

  1. One of my favorite people told me, “don’t feel sorry for me.” She’s right, I was being arrogant putting my feelings on her durning her last few weeks. Celebrate them, give them your time, your touch and your energy.
    Like they say, it’s a privilege growing old, not everyone gets to.

    Reply
  2. If they are able.. allow them to express their pain, fear, and sometimes anger. Towards what is happening to them. Listen!! And shower them with love. Do not run away from them!! as hard as it is.

    Reply
  3. Continue on as if they’re with you! Mom, wanted me to keep the house quiet when I was taking care of Dad. Passed in 2008 I said, “NO, you don’t want to do that! He’ll know somethings wrong! Just do what you normally do EVERYDAY! Watch your NEWS, do the dishes , let the dog bark when someone comes to the door!” The cat stayed on his bed the last four days of his life. Dear Sara how I miss that cat, she and I had a bond those last days. She was a FUR-giver!

    Reply
  4. That you know more about the person you’re caring for than anybody else does because you do it 24/7. So you must be their advocate. Very loyal. I’m very much there protector. Don’t let anyone tell you all everything is the same for everyone because it’s just not true. And you won’t grieve like everyone else in your family that’s not taking care of them Greaves you will grieve differently my mom just passed away in March Alzheimers took care of her 10 years in the last 4 years bedroom Total Care. And believe me it’s going to piss you off when everyone tells you to take care of yourself and take a break when they won’t step in or there’s limitations about stepping in. Just love them and step into their world and give yourself a pat on the shoulder when you’re being too hard on yourself

    Reply
  5. Just a really shitty question, because in this day and age, everyone is taking treatment for something,. Or making life changes to improve,, Why would you pose such a question of pending death.

    Reply
  6. That you are there to give them whatever they want if possible

    Reply
  7. Let them know it’s okay to go….

    Reply
  8. Crawl into their bed and cuddle…

    Reply
    • Because I so wish I’d done that…..

      Reply
    • I so wish I had done it much much more.

      Reply
  9. When it’s time to let go, reassure them that everything will be alright. And let him/her know you truly care about them

    Reply
  10. Treasure every second! It’s tough , but when it’s over you just which that you could still be caring for them.

    Reply
  11. Let them lead. It’s not about you.

    Reply
  12. Know that even if they can not communicate and look like they are dying, they do hear you and they can hear anyone. So many people I have seen come in and treat the person like they are not there, talking over them or like they are a child.

    Reply
  13. Love all u can, remember to breath, it is what it is, and u are important too

    Reply
  14. Don’t shut others out of your life just because you feel they can’t understand your pain. Wish I could take my own advise.

    Reply
  15. Let them choose how, when and where even if you don’t agree.

    Reply
  16. Take care of yourself first!! I learned the hard way-you cant take care of anyone unless you take care of YOURSELF!

    Reply
    • that’s always great advise except when no one else is showing up to help out some days :-/

      Reply
  17. Spend time with the young and living! Keep your perspective! Never forget it’s one of the most honorable things you can do with your time!

    Reply
  18. My sister and I loving my Mommy as she took her last breath. Beautiful, peaceful, loving moment..

    Reply
  19. I told my Mom, I’d be okay without her and told her it was okay for her to go, whenever she was ready. There were people waiting to welcome her. I told her I would miss her, and that I loved her. She died early the next morning, when I wasn’t with her.

    Reply
  20. Dignity, love, be careful what you say around them. Smiles. Hugs. Speak memories.
    Have Faith. Prayer it doesn’t linger on.

    Reply
  21. My thoughts is to treat each and every moment as if it is your last. I am in that positioning right now. I never know when my loved one will pass but every nano second is something that once taken can never be returned… very good article. Thank you.

    Reply
  22. Great advice! I liked how it was mentioned over and over that each person is different and you just have to figure out the best way to manage the heavy subject with that individual. All-over a great article.

    Reply

Share your thoughts and experiences

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Join our communities

Whenever you want to talk, there’s always someone up in one of our Facebook communities.

These private Facebook groups are a space for support and encouragement — or getting it off your chest.

Join our newsletter

Thoughts on care work from Cori, our director, that hit your inbox each Monday morning (more-or-less).

There are no grand solutions, but there are countless little ways to make our lives better.

Share your insights

Caregivers have wisdom and experience to share. Researchers, product developers, and members of the media are eager to understand the nature of care work and make a difference.

We have a group specifically to connect you so we can bring about change.