Updated: Feb 16
By JoAnna Brown of Near. Near offers end of life navigation and grief support for patients, families, and caregivers.
End of life is something nobody wants to talk about, because let’s be honest, no one wants to experience it. Whether you’re the patient or the caregiver, the end of life transition can be chaotic and complicated, filled with big and constantly-changing emotions.
In addition to the fear, uncertainty, exhaustion, and grief, there’s also a mountain of logistics to work through, from advance care planning to after death preparation. All the medical, legal, and financial tasks can feel intimidating and overwhelming. The mental and emotional toll is highest, just as personal bandwidth is low.
This is where seeking the services of an End of Life Navigator can make all the difference. These experienced, compassionate guides help replace overwhelm with clarity, and confusion with comfort. Navigators come alongside patients, families, and caregivers as they figure out all the planning, logistics, and next steps of the dying process.
Whether you choose to work with a Navigator or a trusted friend or family member, here are some things to think about as you create and carry out your end of life plans.
Cast a Vision
There are important conversations that need to take place during the end of life season. These discussions give the person dying an opportunity to honestly and directly communicate their vision and desires for their final days and beyond. As hard and painful as they may be, vision conversations can help you and your loved ones approach death with love and meaning instead of fear and anxiety.
Make a Clear Advance Care Plan
Advance care planning involves making decisions about the care you want to receive in the event of a medical crisis. Each individual should make these decisions based on their own personal values, preferences, and candid discussions with loved ones.
Make a Clear After Death Care Plan
When it comes to planning out what will happen after death, it’s important to once again ensure that the individual’s wishes align with their goals and values, and that they are communicated clearly to all parties involved. This gives loved ones the gift of a clear plan in the midst of their grief, and simplifies the overwhelming logistical and legal tasks that come along with the end of life.
Leave a Lasting Legacy
What do you want to leave behind for future generations? If you can, put some time and intention into creating an expression of love, remembrance, or inspiration for the people you love for years to come. Some examples include milestone notes, letters to children or loved ones, life interviews, audio or video recordings, photo projects, slideshows, cookbooks, letters to the future, or a work of art. Legacies convey what we want remaining and future generations to know and understand about our life experiences.
Don’t Neglect the Details
In addition to grief, most family members and caretakers are left to figure out passwords, hunt down insurance policies, and search for important paperwork when their loved one passes. Once again, you can give your loved ones an amazing gift by creating a Life Details Folder compiling important information in one place, removing all the guesswork, and reducing overwhelm and stress.
Reach Out For Grief Support Before and After Loss
Facing loss at each stage gives patients and caregivers a chance to heal and find meaning. Grief and loss play a role in our experience long before someone we love dies, and by addressing loss along the way (loss of identity due to illness, a job, relationship roles, health, mobility, assumptions about the future, etc.) we can heal, experience deeper relationships, and ultimately a more meaning-filled life.
Near provides personalized, one-on-one End of Life Navigation for patients and caregivers. After a free meeting with a member of their Care Team, you can select a customized plan to make your end of life experience less stressful and more meaningful so you can live your life well, even as it’s ending.
Near’s Care Plans include one-on-one support that includes everything from advance directives, health care poA/proxy, vigil planning, and weekly check-in meetings with your Navigator. They help you with all the details, offering extra support and guidance, so you can focus on what matters most.
To learn more about End of Life Navigation services, visit StayNear.co
& be sure to follow them at @staynearco on FB, IG, and Twitter