Six Ways to Offer End-of-life Comfort

As your senior edges closer to the end of her life, you might be concerned about how you can help her to stay as comfortable as possible. Try these suggestions.

Try to Ease Her Breathing

Breathing may become more difficult for your senior as she nears the end of her life. The air itself might be too humid or too dry for her and that’s something you can easily adjust with humidifiers and air conditioning. You can also try propping her in different positions with a variety of pillows to see how that helps her to breathe easier.

Clean and Dry Skin Helps

Your senior’s skin is more fragile now and that can pose a variety of problems for her. The best rule of thumb is to do what you can to keep her skin both clean and dry, even if she’s not able to get out of bed herself. Changing the bedding regularly helps quite a bit.

Help Her Keep Her Mouth Moist

Her mouth and throat may not be as moist as they need to be, though. This is especially the case if your senior has slowed down a lot on eating and drinking. Ice chips can help, but if your elderly family member is sleeping a lot this might not be practical. Lip balm can help, as can a damp cloth dabbed around your senior’s mouth.

You Can Talk to Her

Whether your elderly family member is awake and lucid or not, you can still talk to her. Sometimes just hearing your voice, no matter what you’re talking about, can be comforting for her. It’s not always easy to just sit and talk to someone who isn’t responding, but you don’t have to worry. Read to your senior or just update her on positive news from people she cares about.

Look for Visible Signs of Pain

If your senior isn’t communicative any longer, she may not be able to tell you when she’s in pain. You can start to recognize when she’s experiencing pain, though. She might tense her muscles or she might have a pained expression on her face. There may be other signs, too. Try to learn what your senior’s specific tells are.

Do What You Can to Stay Calm

This is a difficult time for everyone involved, including you. It’s important that you take advantage of breaks as often as you can and that you work to keep yourself calm. If you’re feeling emotional, it might be best to express those feelings in another room where you can get it all out and then go back to your senior.

The more complicated aspects of helping your senior to stay comfortable at the end of her life are things that you might need more help managing. End-of-life care providers can handle those tasks and details for you, allowing you to spend the time she has left with your senior.


Shaun Clinkinbeard
Latest posts by Shaun Clinkinbeard (see all)