Create an End-of-Life Environment for Your Loved One

Posted on September 2, 2019

warm bedroomIt is many people's wish to spend their final days at home, and while not always possible, for those where it can be accommodated it can make the world of difference to their end of life experience. The familiarity and reassurance of their home environment, home comforts and the precious memories shared there, can really help soothe and aid in easing someone’s passing. 

It means also that it would be possible for them to see and spend time with friends, family, pets and neighbours if they so wish, while at the same time giving them the opportunity for some privacy and peace if that is what they prefer


Family Carer Responsibilities
As a family carer, you will be responsible for helping with things like meals, medication, taking them to appointments, as well as more intimate care needs such as personal hygiene, bathing, skin care and grooming. If you feel you need more guidance with any of these responsibilities, you shouldn’t hesitate to contact your doctor or community palliative care team for guidance.

Caring for someone at home in these stages, while it is a very fulfilling and even privileged experience, it can be very physically and emotionally draining. So having a network of friends and family around you to help and offer emotional support will greatly help ease any difficulty. 

It’s important to ensure that you continue to look after your own health while caring for your loved one, making sure you eat well and try to get a good nights sleep, although its important to be aware that the emotional stress and responsibility can significantly disrupt your sleep. With this in mind, if there are other family members or close friends that can give you the occasional break for an opportunity of a bit of self-care or a good night’s sleep when you feel you need it, then this would be advised. 


Creating the Right Environments
When someone is very ill or nearing the end of their life, their immune system is highly compromised, you will therefore want to keep the environment as clean as possible to minimize the risk of your loved one contracting any other diseases or infections. It is best to opt for more gentle and eco-friendly cleaning products if possible, as many powerful industrial household cleaners contain toxins that are dangerous to humans, pets and the more vulnerable, this could also irritate them or cause discomfort.

 A calm and peaceful environment is key to someone who is near the end of life. They will spend a lot of time resting and it is really important that they feel soothed and comforted while doing so. Keeping good air circulation in the room, while ensuring that it’s not too drafty, will help sanitize the environment and keep things fresh. The presence and scent of flowers can really help lift someone’s mood, as can the smell of pleasant and familiar fragrances such as lavender, rosemary and nutmeg. 

Burning candles and incense is a great way to create a calm and soothing environment. Some gentle music might be appreciated, as it provides a light form of entertainment and may bring back happy memories. Therapeutic remedies such as a gentle massage can be very comforting and consoling. Even if it is just massaging their hands or feet, this will help allay any feelings of anxiety and help you create happy, loving memories of precious moments shared with your loved one in their final days.

By freelance writer, Jane Zachery


About End With Care

End With Care Corp is a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization helping to provide end-of-life information and access to resources found
throughout Massachusetts.

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