How to Prepare for the Death of a Parent

How to Prepare for the Death of a Parent

The loss of a parent is always a traumatic event. It is something nobody is ever prepared for. Nobody ever teaches you how to deal with a parent dying with cancer. In most cases, these aren’t things we even think about. We grow up with them, and we spend all our lives with them. It is difficult to imagine life without them because we are so used to having them around.

But death is a very real thing. In an ever-changing world, death remains the only constant. Conversations surrounding the death of a family member are difficult. Confronting anyone’s mortality is difficult. But if you have those talks, you will be prepared for losing a parent when it comes. And as we all, probably, already know, death does not always come announced.

So, what can we do? How do we prepare for the death of a family member? The first step we can take is to come to terms with the inevitability of it all. Then, there are many tasks, both practical and emotional, that need to be taken care of. These are what we call the preparing for the death of a parent checklist, and they include the following:

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Emotionally Preparing for the Loss of a Parent

Watching your parents slip further and further away, especially if your parent is terminally ill, is a heartbreaking process. However, this is exactly why you need to pull your spirit together and emotionally prepare yourself for the ordeal. This will not only enrich both your lives, but give them, and you, good memories that you can hold on to for the rest of your life.

A few ways of doing preparations for death are:

  • Tell them everything you want to tell them. This can range from a simple, “I love you,” or, “I forgive you,” to a confession about that one time you stole a penny to buy a lollipop. This is about putting them at ease and removing all traces of regrets while you still have the chance.
  • Tell them how much they meant to you. Don’t save your stories for after they’re gone. Make sure they know their lasting impact on your life. Make them a part of your reminiscing.
  • Write down or make videos of your parent’s little eccentricities. A favourite story they like telling, their favourite recipe, a saying, or a memory, it can be anything. Rather than losing it to the ravages of time, or your own faulty memory, immortalize them with modern technology.
  • Learn how to healthily express grief. Don’t shy away from help and support groups if you need them.
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How to Prepare Financially for the Death of a Parent

Inheritances can be nasty. We all know that. The best thing you can do is to have these matters sorted out well before anything catastrophic happens. This will save you a lot of stress and anguish at an already stressful time.

What’s more, knowing that their financial wishes are all on paper and properly authorized will give your parents some peace of mind. It’s also empowering knowledge in a time where they might not be feeling the same way physically.

This also saves a lot of money of having to go through courts of law after they have passed on in order to get the documents authorized.

Here are a few basic things you need to get taken care of when preparing for the death of a loved one:

  • An Advance Directive
  • Power of Attorney (Medical and Financial)
  • Last Will and Testament
  • Specific plans for funeral arrangements
Also, keep copies of all these documents in an easily accessible but secure place. You do not want to lose them, but you should be able to show them to anyone who wants to see. This is the best way to counter the family drama you know is going to happen afterwards.

How to Prepare for the Death of a Terminally Ill Parent

In case of a terminally ill parent, not only do you have to do all of the above, but you also need to look after them. The physical and mental stresses of this can be immense. Add to this the fact that you may not be qualified to look after them. You might not know the first thing to do.

In this scenario, it is best to call for hospice care. You may not like it, but it is what’s best. Hospice care looks after all of your parent’s emotional, physical, and spiritual needs, and counts as an extra layer of love and support beyond what you can give them.

The best part is that hospice services are completely covered by Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurances. All the medical equipment, medication, and supplies come completely free of charge to you. It really is the best thing you can do for them.

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One of the hardest times you’ll face is when your parent dies. There will be a lot of grief, stress, and anguish that you must prepare for. If not for your sake, then for your parents. Furthermore, if your parent is terminally ill, you may know for an extended period of time that they will pass soon. If you would like to learn how the health providers at All American Hospice can help make the rest of your parent’s life more comfortable, reach out to us for a consultation.

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