End of life: How you can help with care and comfort of a loved one

When the end of life comes, each person has a different story. Death can come quickly, or sometimes a person hangs on, gradually failing. In some elderly people, the body loses strength while the mind maintains alertness. Other older people can remain strong physically, but lose mental capabilities. For everyone though, death is comes for each of us, and that loss is felt by everyone close to the person who has passed away.

End-of-life care is used to describe the medical care and support given during the time surrounding death. Care such as this doesn’t happen just before death. Elder people can often live with one or more serious illnesses and require care for days, weeks, and sometimes even months.

When a physician says something like, “I’m sorry, but I don’t have very good news. There’s nothing else we can do medically.” The possibility of a cure may end, but the need for medical care doesn’t. It also doesn’t end the involvement of friends and family. There are many methods and ways to provide care for an older person who is nearing the end of their life. Such care almost always involves a team of people. If you are reading this, then you might be part of such a team.

These articles help provide an overview of issues commonly facing people caring for someone nearing the end of life. It can help you to work with health care providers to complement their medical and caregiving efforts. These articles do not replace the personal and specific advice of the doctor, but it can help you make sense of what is happening and give you a framework for making care decisions.