Hospice and end of life counseling are two realities of Sundowners Syndrome that many of us do not want to face. The symptoms of Sundowners and the treatment options are difficult enough to cope with. Helping a loved one cope and live with Sundowners Syndrome requires structure and a lot of patience. So, what do you do when end of life counseling changes are introduced? Here are a few ways to cope with end of life counseling and a loved one living with Sundowners.
Be Their Voice
One of the largest benefits to your loved one is to be their voice when they cannot. End of life counseling is often handled between a care counselor and the patient. In cases where Sundowners Syndrome is concerned, this same connection may not be available. Your loved one may not understand what is happening and the change the counseling discusses can be too much for them to handle. This is where you need to step in, discuss the situation with the counselor and help the counselor conduct their job while helping your loved one with the choices they may be faced with. Make sure that choices fit with the ideas, morals and ethics your loved one lived by.
Comfort not Extension
The hard truth is that extending a life may not be an option. If that is the case then focus on the comfort level of your loved one. Try to discuss this with the counselor and have them get on the same page as you. Let them understand that you have faced the situation and the comfort of your loved on, emotionally and physically, is the top priority.
It is not Necessary
The biggest misconception for loved ones is that end of life counseling is a must have. End of life counseling is not necessary. If you feel that the idea of end of life counseling is too much for your loved one living with Sundowners to handle then do not feel you have to put them through it. The truth is that you can handle the end of life choices. The idea of end of life counseling is to offer assistance but if it will only upset your loved one then do not feel obligated to have it.
Be Open to Suggestions
When you are a loved one of someone living with Sundowners, you may find yourself living in a pattern. You handle things a certain way. You may have opted for home health, which causes a whole set of senior living changes. You do what works for yourself and for your loved one. You may also find yourself making choices that “keep the peace.” If you do decide to try end of life counseling, be open to suggestions that are offered by the counselor. Be open to different changes they suggest or ways they suggest to discuss end of life issues with your loved one. If it still is not working for you or if it is making your loved ones comfort level drop then by all means discontinue the sessions. It is always your choice.