Tips on taking care of yourself:
- Get enough rest, perhaps naps during the day. Conserve your energy.
- Exercise. Even a short walk improves sleep and gives energy.
- Eat well. Choose a variety of foods and drink plenty of water.
- Reduce stress. Think about what has helped in the past.
- Take breaks. Relax and think of other things.
- Pay attention to what your body is telling you. Is it tired, stressed, tense?
- Nurture your spiritual side. Pursue those things that are uplifting to you.
- Pamper yourself, especially on difficult days.
- Avoid unrealistic expectations of yourself.
- Recognize your needs and limitations and allow others to help you.
- Set limits. It’s ok to say “no” sometimes.
Tips on helping loved ones:
- Allow them to talk. Listen without judgment and with only occasional comment.
- Acknowledge and validate their feelings and let them express their feelings in many ways.
- Avoid taking any negative feelings personally.
- Let them have control over their situation as much as possible.
- Include them in decision making and discussions.
- Let them do as much as they want to and have the energy for, no matter how slow, painful or difficult it seems to you.
- Don’t underestimate their pains, symptoms, and fear. They are real and valid.
- Avoid judging
- Talk about subjects you used to discuss together, the times you shared.
Experience gleaned from years of work with patients and families has shown us that often the best patient care provided is that given by family and friends. Regardless of how capable and efficient a professional’s care may be, the presence and touch of a person who has a close relationship with the patient will provide the greatest gift.
Eating & Nutrition
Loss of appetite is a common complaint among people with terminal illness. The many causes for loss of appetite include: pain, fatigue, stress, anxiety, depression, nausea, vomiting, changes in taste sensations, side effects of medications, breathing problems, and constipation. Some patients say their appetite comes and goes while others say they rarely feel hungry.
Some patients say they eat less because food tastes bad, that they have a bitter metal taste in their mouth, or they simply get full too soon. All of these factors are considered a normal part of a terminal illness. If the patient is depressed, antidepressant medications may improve appetite and the patient’s outlook.
If the patient’s disease is advanced and the loss of appetite profound, it is appropriate to recommend food and fluids only as the patient requests. In truth, most hospice patients would prefer to have their families focus less on eating problems and more on other physical symptoms, spiritual issues, and emotional concerns. Following are some tips for particular problems your loved one may be experiencing which may lead to loss of appetite.
Even the strongest, most capable caregivers need help sometimes. Whether you need help caring for your loved one or simply need someone to talk to, Solaris is here to support you any way we can. Our team of nurses, social workers, chaplains and nurses aides are specially trained to help care for you and your loved one. Give us a call anytime at 888-376-5274 to learn more about the many ways Solaris can help, or click the button below to contact us by email.