Living well and living long is a general expectation fueled by advances in modern medicine, preventative care, nutrition and fitness. Despite prevention and medical advances, not only do serious illnesses arise; they can also become progressive.

The most difficult time can be when an illness becomes life-threatening. It can be difficult to know what to say when someone has been diagnosed with such an illness. A common reaction is to either stay away or not talk about it at all. Although it may be hard to start a conversation; doing so can help your loved-one cope with their natural stress, anxiety and fears.

So what do I say? A simple comment such as “I do not know what to say, but I care so much” could mean a lot. Just being there can let someone know you care.

Emotional questions such as “Are you worried?” or “Are you scared?” can lead to more in depth conversations. Be prepared to listen. The simple act of quietly listening and allowing a loved-one to express fears, concerns and other issues can be very beneficial when facing an uncertain future.

Sometimes the person is experiencing anger, guilt or depression among other feelings and may not be able to freely verbalize this with others. You may be the one who makes the difference by allowing them to open up without being silenced for the sake of your own comfort.

If you are the one facing a difficult diagnosis, know that often your family does not know how to begin a conversation with you and fear upsetting you. Unfortunately, you may have to be the one to start the conversation to let them know what is on your mind and ask them to let you speak about your concerns. Your health care team can be a great support for you and your family as well.

You are not alone. Hospice Associates Care Consultants are ready to sensitively listen and share information to help you prepare and make important care decisions.

Contact us in Metairie at 504-457-2200, or Baton Rouge at 225-218-1300

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