How to Cope with a Terminal Illness Diagnosis

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Diagnosis of a terminal illness may bring with it lots of emotions, uncertainty, and doubt. It may also bring a sense of calm and the inclination to restructure priorities. All this to say, there is no right or wrong way to cope with a terminal diagnosis. Wherever you’re at, we hope this list of practical tasks will help bring you some clarity and empower you to make the most out of the time you have left. 

  1. Learn as much as you can. Not every illness progresses in the same way. Take the time to research your disease and how it may physically, mentally, and emotionally affect you. As you learn, write down any questions that come up so that you’ll be prepared to ask them at your next doctor’s appointment.  
  2. Begin Pre- and Post- Death Planning: Consider writing out your wishes for how and where you’d like to be cared for (at home or in an in-patient setting). Also, begin planning your funeral or arranging a “living funeral.” Not only with these plans help you achieve your ideal end-of-life experience, but they will also take the burden off of your loved ones. 
  3. Establish a Support Group. You’ll want to establish a support group to assist you physically and emotionally when times get tough. A support group could consist of friends and family, a hired caregiver, neighbors, and/or even people going through the same struggles.  
  4. Tell your loved ones how you feel: Write down a list of things you want to say to your loved ones. Then, say them! This process will allow you to leave with no regrets about things left unsaid. It will provide the same opportunity to your loved ones.
  5. Make the most of the days ahead. Find joy in each day by doing what you love with the ones you love. 

If you’d like more information on the benefits of hospice care for end-of-life care, please contact us for an evaluation. 

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