Dying the RIGHT Way, A System of Caregiving and Planning for Families

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Dying the RIGHT Way was conceived during the four year period in which I took care of my parents in their final years of life.  The goal of the book is to help other families who might be experiencing caregiving or for those who anticipate performing caregiving duties, as well as to provide guidance when experiencing the difficult steps experienced during this time.  The four years were extremely rewarding to me, as I was able to spend that time with my parents and knew that I was contributing to their well being and health.  Having a direct hands-on approach enabled them to live at least a year longer than they might otherwise have, and to experience an improved life style throughout the entire caregiving period (over what they had been managing on their own).

What did caregiving at home bring to our family?  It kept Mom and Dad comfortable in their
familiar surroundings (very important for Dad), they had one-on-one care, everything related to
their care was monitored, and in reality - they were much happier being at home.  Their most
important concern was that we were able to honor their most implicit wish - to stay at home.  Communication is THE key, both to honor your parent(s) wishes, to find out how they want to be cared for, what their final wishes are, and to be able to communicate these wishes to the family.  

My parents were always insistent that they wanted to remain at "Home, Sweet Home" and
did not want to go to a nursing home.  In fact, Dad was adamant about this point.  Fortunately,
my Dad had the resources for us to hire private caregivers when the time came to do so.  Certainly, in today's world, independent, assisted living, and nursing home facilities have evolved to allow cleaner, healthier facilities, with the inclusion of socialization and activities for the people that live there.  My parents were not familiar with this new world of elder care.  Like my parents, negative views of senior care residences still seem to be prevalent among many seniors.

Throughout my sadness and grief over losing my parents, I always had the desire to write
a book to try and help other families.  I could only think that if I experienced challenges and problems with my background, other families without a family or health advocate must also need help.  This book is written as a guide to caregiving from beginning to end.  Not only is our caregiving journey related, but also three chapters on caregiving - how to hire, guidelines for caregivers, and 42 caregiving forms for use in the home.  Additional chapters include information on how to pick a residential facility, what to think about hospice, what should the family do if life support occurs, death and dying, how to plan a funeral, simple steps to settling of the estate, and appendices including recipes, oil treatments, and websites.

The following is an excerpt from Dying the Right Way:


Maxim's to Caregive By


Your Dad is still your Dad, he is just a different Dad


The patient is always 100% forgiven


Applaud and Praise


Always tell them they are beautiful


Give them a job and praise them for the job


Tell them:  I really need your help -- can you help me?


Every day is an adventure - don't know who patient is going to be from day to day


Go into their world - don't bring them into your world


Don't take offense when they get angry, cuss you out, or accuse you of lying - they won't remember and don't mean it


Tell them:  When you are ready, just let me know or come and get me


There's no crime in getting old - the patient may be a prisoner in his/her own mind, but not in reality.  Don't treat them like they are a criminal


Their world is whatever age they are at


Every day is a new day - the patient/caregiver won't know what the day is like until it is experienced


Wait five minutes if patient doesn't want to do something -- their perspective will change and they won't remember what happened


Using the words "Do you remember" is a pitfall.  The patient may not remember and may feel badly that they can't.


Try less - give in more


Accommodate, Accommodate, Accommodate


Create a loving and healthy environment


Use common sense, take deep breaths, and be cheerful


Change is constant


Don't take this path by yourself - support is absolutely crucial to your wellbeing now and afterwards


Note - these maxims may be used for caregiving or converted into maxims to live by, to keep marriages wholesome and healthy, to raise children by, and to keep friends by.

Courtesy of Arizona, our caregiving supervisor

ã Copyright 2010, Janice Louise Long

The author may be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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