New York State Funeral Directors Association

When your loved one is diagnosed with a terminal illness, it can seem like the world is crumbling down around you.

You may be feeling overwhelmed or helpless, but there are ways that you can help to ease your loved one’s passing and make it as painless as possible.

Though it isn’t always easy, it’s important to offer medical, emotional, and spiritual support to a loved one who is facing the end of their life.

Medical Support

In the later stages of their terminal condition, your loved one may go into hospice or stay at home with a care worker to provide end of life medical care and health support.

Even if you have a trained caregiver tending to your loved one, however, they will still need your assistance as they go about their day.

You can help to make them more comfortable and ease any pain that they may be feeling by cooking meals, helping with chores, and providing custodial care such as help bathing and dressing.

Emotional Support

If your loved one has been diagnosed with a terminal condition, it doesn’t change anything about who they are as a person.

They will still have the same dreams, likes, and dislikes as before.

Perhaps the best thing that you can do for your loved one at the end of their life is to maintain a sense of normalcy.

When things get tough, you should be there to provide a sympathetic ear and listen to your loved one’s concerns.

They may be feeling afraid, or alone, or depressed.

You may not always know the right thing to say, but simply being there for your loved one in their time of need is often enough.

Inviting your loved one to talk about his or her fears is sometimes all you need to do to provide the emotional support that they need in this difficult time.

If it’s too difficult for a loved one to discuss their concerns with someone in the family, you can gently encourage them to seek help and work with them to find professional counseling services in your area.

Spiritual Support

If religion is an important part of your loved one’s life, it should also be an important part of their end of life care.

Spiritual support from their priest, rabbi, or another religious leader can help to ease any feelings of confusion or concern that your friend or family may be feeling after being diagnosed with a terminal condition.

You can contact the clergy or congregation members to offer assistance, support, and words of comfort to both your loved one and the rest of your family.


LucyForWebLucy Wyndham
Lucy gave up a professional career in order to become a stay at home mom, freelance writer and content manager. Having had a recent loss in the family, she's reaching out to help others similarly affected.