How to Support a Terminally Ill Family Member

Illness is common in the aging population. As people get older, their bodies start to wear down, and they are more susceptible to illnesses and diseases.

This can be difficult for family members who are caring for elderly loved ones. They may need to take on more responsibilities, such as preparing meals, bathing, and providing medication. It can be a lot of work, but it is important to do what you can to make your loved one comfortable.

Death becomes increasingly a likelihood as a person grow older. Many seniors, at some point, will be diagnosed with an illness that will grow worse with time and, ultimately, lead to death. When a family member is given a terminal diagnosis, it can be a very emotional and frightening time for everyone involved.

Here are some tips on how to shower love and support on your terminally ill family member while they have some time left on earth:

Be Honest with Your Loved One

In this difficult time, you want to make sure that everything said is heard by your loved one. If your loved one isn’t aware of their own diagnosis, tell them straight away. Let them know what’s going on and how long they have until they pass away from their condition.

This may come as a shock at first, but honesty will help relieve them of some stress and will let them get used to the idea.

Be Aware of What Your Loved One’s Needs Are

Once your family member becomes terminally ill, their needs and wants may change. They may not be able to do certain activities that they were once capable of doing, such as driving and running errands. Other things they might want or need include:

  • Certain foods and drinks (or less food and drink)
  • Certain medications and treatment
  • More contact with others in the family (including children if they are still living at home with you)

At some point, your loved one may need professional medical care 24/7. Their comfort is your utmost priority, so you need to consider either hiring an in-house nurse to take care of them, or send them to a hospice where there is not only well-trained personnel but the right equipment to make the final moments of your loved one less stressful.

Monitor Behavior and Psychological Well-Being

When patients get sick, it doesn’t only affect the body; it also affects the mind. Even if your loved one refuses to think about death, it will still be on their mind subconsciously. They may become short tempered with others or act slightly depressed or anxious around family members.

This is normal; it’s how our minds react when we encounter something that holds extreme significance for us. However, watching for changes in behavior and psychological well-being will help you maintain a better relationship with your terminally ill loved one!

Don’t Make Assumptions

a terminally ill patient

When you’re dealing with someone who is terminally ill, it can be easy to assume that they understand and know everything going on around them. However, this isn’t always the case. If you see your loved one starting to nod off during a conversation or acting uninterested in what’s going on around them, don’t assume that they fully comprehend what’s happening or what others are saying.

Make sure to explain things thoroughly and ask questions to make sure that your family member is still understanding of their surroundings and situation.

Be with Your Loved One in Their Last Hours

When your loved one is on their death bed, they will need comfort and love most of all. Be there with them when they pass away to hold their hand, tell them how much you love them, and offer all the support they need. When it’s time for them to leave this world behind, let them know that you are there for them and let them go peacefully.

This can be an incredibly difficult time for everyone involved, but if you take care of yourself (by eating well and getting enough sleep) and your loved one (by staying strong through these tough times), it will help make the process easier on both of you. Being able to shower love on a dying family member is a wonderful thing, and you should take pride in that. Just be sure to offer them as much love and support as possible while they still have some time on this earth!


The death of a family member is never easy to go through, but if you’re able to take care of yourself and your loved one as they pass away from their terminal illness, the process will be easier on both. Offer them love and support while they still have some time left — it’ll mean more than anything!

About the Author

Scroll to Top