Monday, December 14, 2015

Helping a Loved One Move Toward The Light

Dec. 14, 2015

Dear Cathy:

My husband is 60 years old and has an extensive list of health issues, both mental and physical. Last week, we were given the news that he may have pancreatic cancer. He watched his brother die from the same disease, so we know that if he is diagnosed, he may not survive long.

After we got the news, I started thinking about what may happen to me after he dies. I thought about getting him more life insurance, selling the house, what to do with his belongings – even where I would bury him.

Am I a terrible person? I feel guilty for doing it and would appreciate your opinion. Worried in Washington, DC

Dear Worried:

Just remember it ain’t over until it’s over. No you are not a bad person for simply planning ahead, especially about burial arrangements. Despite the grim diagnosis that your husband was given, his brother’s fate does not have to be his fate. People on their death bed bounce back all the time and go on to led normal lives again -- so never give up hope.

However, if you did not plan ahead, if he did expire, it would probably leave your household unprepared to deal with the situation -- so planning ahead on any matter, especially a matter as grave as this is simply a smart idea.

Once he is given a diagnosis of a terminal disease, which could include coronary artery disease, cancer, failure to thrive, stroke, etc. -- when all else has failed and it’s time to let go of a loved one, make sure you are informed on what steps you need to take.

Hospice care can be in an institution or home care. Keep in mind if the patient is still in the hospital and in frail shape, a hospital representative will try to get the family to sign papers so that their family members can be taken to the hospice ward at the hospital, where they will be administered morphine, made comfortable until they transition.

The only other option is to take that person home for hospice care or to an institution. Many families might elect to take them home so they can be surrounded by family as they transition. That transition time might be anywhere from two weeks to several months.

To learn more about helping a family member move toward the light read “Golden Years: How To Age Gracefully and Take Care of Seniors – available as an e-book and paperback at

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