Beginning list to consider:
Making legal decisions
Organizing personal belongings
Getting clarity about what your loved one's wishes are
Understanding medical emergency forms
Deciding when it is time for hospice
Hiring other caregivers.
Knowing you have prepared and done all you can for your loved one's quality of life, whatever that means to you and your family.
Helpful Article from INELDA, International End of Life Doula Association website: http://inelda.org/how-a-death-doula-can-help-patients-and-families/
I've witnessed families and individuals give incredible care and found you don't have to be a medical professional to be a caregiver for an aging parent or spouse. The fact that you care about them the most, are taking the time to look at a website such as this, and considering the next steps, makes you most qualified.
And yet, the process and the amount of work involved in caregiving can oftentimes be overwhelming. You are not expected to have expertise or feel comfortable doing something you've never done before. And there will most likely come a time when getting help and consulting with those who have done it will be important.
I began end-of-life care services as a result of seeing many people wait until it is too late to take care of incredibly important matters. During my work with several Hospice agencies, I noticed many families needed assistance before they qualified. Others waited too long to enlist hospice services when it was clearly time.
Because we walk on egg shells around our fears, sensitivities, and admitting we will not have each other around forever, we end up letting our loved ones die in hospitals during medical crises.
Or we miss out on spending valuable time together to remember our shared values, life purposes, and what a person's life has meant.
Or out of a fear of being too forward or greedy by discussing personal finances, families lose valuable assets and income going through an agonizing probate process, because no one ever asked mom if she had updated her will or created a trust to take care of her estate.
You can't know what a person's wishes are until you ask.
Midwives, doulas, or birthing coaches are utilized during pregnancy to serve a woman and her family before, during, and after childbirth, helping the birthing process go smoothly.
An end-of-life consultant does a similar job during another important phase of life. I sit down with caregivers to learn what their needs are, problem solve actions that can be taken to move forward, offer information and serve as an advocate for both caregiver and aging loved one.
There's often a whole period of aging that can be utilized to discuss these kinds of issues (See list) to clarify, identify, and prioritize what still needs to be done to bring a life into order. Getting this kind of help and an advocate can bring great relief to you and our family and properly honor a life.