Supporting a Loved One with Terminal Illness: Essential Tips

May 17th, 2021 by

Supporting a Loved One with Terminal Illness: Essential Tips

Time appears to freeze when you discover that someone you care about deeply has a life-threatening illness. At first, you’ll instinctively push the news far away. Perhaps you’ll end up shedding a few tears or experience an emotional breakdown. However, things become only more challenging when your loved one gets to know of their diagnosis. It can be incredibly depressing and tough to cope with.

Your terminally ill friend or family member will face various emotions after receiving the news about her/his medical condition. They will need support at this time more than they ever needed in the past. And it will be your job, regardless of the relationship you have with them, to provide them with physical, and most importantly, emotional support. Here are some ways you can help your loved one during such a life-altering situation.

Ask them what they desire

Every person reacts differently to being diagnosed with a terminal illness. Likewise, they also want to spend their remaining time according to their preferences and needs. Be extremely sensitive about such a thing and put your loved one’s desires ahead of yours. Get to know their plans and what they want to achieve with the time left for them in this world. If they require any treatments, legal, or financial aid, ask about it as well. The sooner you can provide them with such help, the better the quality of their life will be for the time they have left to live.

Offer or ask for additional help

If you are the only caregiver for your terminally ill loved one, don’t be afraid to ask your family member, friends, or professional care services for additional help. Some forms of cancer can be quite aggressive and may require other resources than usual, such as mesothelioma. It is a type of occupational cancer with a high fatality rate. In such an instance, you can contact Mesothelioma Hope as it will provide your terminally ill loved one with the professional care she or he needs.

You can set schedules for when your family, friends, or care services can visit, giving you some time to take a break or run household errands. Suppose a family member or friend is more knowledgeable about financial or legal matters. In that case, they can help with some specifics related to the treatment and care process. On the other hand, a professional caregiving service can help your loved one with direct care.

If you aren’t the primary caregiver, then help out the one who is. Assist them with chores such as driving the terminally ill person to the doctor, taking care of pets, or even grocery shopping.

Help them sort out their issues

It is a fact that the majority of people who are living with a terminal illness create plans for the dreaded day, while some may not. Have a chat with the patient about how she or he wants their funeral to be. Go through every legal and financial paperwork with them to ensure that that will is ready before time.

Having such a chat might make you feel uncomfortable at first. However, it is a chat that you can’t avoid, and the sooner you have it, the better it will be once your loved one passes on.

Respect their dignity

Although your terminally ill friend or family member might need care due to the nature of their illness, you still have to look after their dignity and privacy. If they are inside a room with you and someone else, please involve them in every conversation you have in front of them. Don’t go about and make them feel like they aren’t there.

Also, leave your terminally ill loved one’s room to talk about their condition, even if they appear to be unconscious or asleep. When helping with bathing, lock the door or apply a curtain to respect the person’s privacy. Uncover one body part one by one. If your terminally ill loved one is conscious about how they look, comb their hair, or trim their beard. Do whatever she or he likes.

Create a bucket list

Sit down with your terminally ill loved one and ask them what she/he want to accomplish in the days left to live? Is there a special place the person wants to visit? Is there any special occasion coming up in the future? Is there someone she/he wants to speak with or see before crossing over to the other side?

Try to find the answers to the above questions as quickly as you can. If your terminally ill loved one cannot physically travel to the location they like, bring a little piece of the place to them by showing them videos and pictures. Suppose they want to speak to someone who lives thousands of miles away from them. Set up a video camera, and have a live video chat. If there is a special event they want to attend, bring the event to them by live-streaming it.


After your terminally ill loved one passes away, you might feel pressure from others or even yourself to get on with your life. And eventually, you will! However, the little time you have left with her or him, you would want it to become the best time of their lives. Furthermore, after they pass away, do something special for them to honor and acknowledge the importance of their presence in your life.