How to support someone living with chronic pain at the end of life
Apr. 24, 2023
By Kaylee Yamry
Support tips to help a loved one who is in chronic pain
Individuals reaching the end of life are frequently dealing with discomfort and chronic pain resulting from their condition. Experiencing chronic pain can be difficult for the individual, but it can also be difficult for their friends and family. Oftentimes, when a loved one is in pain, we may feel sad or helpless and it can be difficult to know how to best support them.
While each situation is different and what helps one individual may not work for another, we have put together a few tips that may help you better support your loved one living in chronic pain.
Think before you speak: Although you may have good intentions behind your words, think about how what you say might affect the individual. Try to avoid degrading their situation by saying things such as “It can’t be that bad,” or “It could be worse.” Instead, show empathy and compassion through your actions rather than words by helping them with tasks that appear difficult and reassuring them that you are there for them.
Provide physical support: Help the individual with tasks that might be difficult for them. This could be running errands, cooking, doing laundry, or other things. Provide support when you are needed but avoid taking away their independence by insisting on completing tasks they would prefer to do on their own.
Research the individual’s condition: Although you will never know exactly how your loved one is feeling, doing some of your own research can help you better understand their symptoms and feelings. Understanding how their condition may progress can help you prepare for the future.
Provide emotional support: Sometimes it’s ok to not be ok. Recognize that your loved one is going to have difficult days and is going to have to face some tough situations. Although you would like to do anything you can to take their pain away, it is not realistic. The best thing you can do for your loved one is support them and be there through their worst days.
Know what options are available: Being a caregiver to your loved one can be very rewarding, but it has its limitations. There is the danger of caregiver burnout which can result in neglecting your own health, poor quality of care, and relationship tension. Hospice care is here to help and available for those with a diagnosis of 6 months or less to live. Hospice care can support those living with chronic pain by managing medications and providing holistic techniques to maximize comfort at the end of life. Some of these services include music therapy, healing touch or reiki, essential oils, and more. Hospice volunteers can also provide respite care to your loved one while you focus on spending quality time with them and caring for your own personal needs.
If your loved one is struggling with chronic pain, Ethos Hospice is here to provide support and comfort. Connect with a member of our team at (701)515-0240 or fill out an inquiry form to learn more about how our hospice services can help.