Terminal illness is a difficult journey, not only for the patient but also for their loved ones. As the end of life approaches, patients may experience various physical and psychological symptoms, including personality changes. Coping with these changes can be challenging for families and caregivers, particularly when dealing with terminal agitation.
Terminal agitation is a state of confusion and restlessness that affects some patients in the final stages of a terminal illness. It can cause patients to become agitated, anxious, and even aggressive. Coping with personality changes such as these can be overwhelming, but there are several strategies that families and caregivers can use to help their loved ones.
Read on to learn more about symptoms, personality changes before death, and how loved ones can help their terminally ill family members during the hospice process.
What Causes Terminal Agitation?
End-of-life care can be difficult for both patients and their loved ones. Here are some common causes of distress in terminally ill patients:
- Pain: Chronic pain can cause a loved one to lash out at healthcare professionals or caregivers. This anger is often caused by their continued inability to live comfortably in their own bodies.
- Lack of control: When people cannot control their own lives, they may lash out at those around them. This can be especially true in situations like dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease, where patients lose the ability to make decisions for themselves.
- Difficult emotions: People close to death sometimes feel angry or resentful about their situation—naturally feeling cheated or robbed of their time.
- Confusion: Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia, and other conditions that cause confusion can make loved ones angry. This anger is often caused by the inability to understand what is happening and why.
How Can I Help My Loved One?
If your loved one is frequently angry or frustrated, there may not be much you can do directly to change their state. However, you can take steps to make them feel more comfortable during the time they have left by:
- Not taking it personally: Remember this—they aren’t mad at you. Their anger is a way of coping with the pain and powerlessness they feel at that moment.
- Speaking calmly. Raising your voice will only make the situation worse. Try to keep calm and speak in a normal tone of voice.
- Maintaining a relaxed environment. Keep the lights dim, play soft music if they want, and minimize activity in their space.
How Can Hospice Care Help?
Hospice is an integral part of end-of-life care. It provides comfort and support for patients and their families by providing 24/7 in-home care and assistance with activities of daily living.
We know that if you’re looking for hospice care, you must be in a difficult situation. Our team can help make your loved one more comfortable through the end of their life, allowing them to spend their remaining time with the people they love most.
At Lucky Palliative Services, there’s nothing more important than your loved one and their comfort. Learn more about our services today.