Photo by Ketut Subiyanto

Having a loved one need hospice care is never easy, and talking to kids about it can be a daunting task that no parent or guardian would ever wants to do.

But, as Eleanor Gaccetta (author of One Caregivers Journey) knows, it’s a discussion that needs to take place. Eleanor is well aware of how challenging this conversation can be. It’s one of the difficulties caregivers encounter, including caregiving in the new normal and regaining work-life balance.

Talking to children about such a sensitive subject can be tricky, but there are guidelines caregivers can keep in mind to help make the situation more manageable.

Why Do We Want to Protect Children From the Worst-Case Scenario?

When discussing the worst-case scenario with children regarding an unwell loved one, numerous individuals avoid the topic altogether. It’s natural to want to shield youngsters and preserve their innocence for as much time as possible.

However, it’s better to guide youngsters toward the truth and console them if they feel upset. Children are frequently more aware of mortality than we realize, and both children and adults may cope better with situations they’re aware of than things they aren’t.

Let’s look at some tips anyone can follow to make the planned conversation about hospice care.

Honesty is the Best Policy

Children may detect when adults are not being completely honest with them. They could grow fearful and make up false justifications for the situation they’re about to find themselves in, and the actual status of the unwell loved one.

Pay Close Attention to the Child’s Reaction

If they sob, wiggle, or appear perplexed during your conversation or even after, mention their response. It is appropriate to have a casual conversation asking how they are feeling and addressing their needs to accept the situation.  Now, it’s essential to know that some kids might not be capable of articulating their feelings. Understanding the motivations behind their responses concerning what is happening is crucial so parents may ease their minds.

Remember to Ask Them if They’re Worried or Have Questions

Children frequently want to defend their parents, so it’s crucial to ensure that any queries or concerns they may have are valid. In Eleanor Gaccetta’s experience, caregiving in the new normal and regaining work-life balance is more difficult if a child has misconceptions about hospice care.

Children could have ideas and feelings that seem unusual or startle parents or guardians. However, it’s crucial to consider a child’s worries seriously. It is beneficial to bring up these issues, even though doing so may be difficult for yourself or the child and upsetting.

You may even have to be the one telling the child about a dying loved one, which is no easy task. When children raise challenging questions, always respond truthfully and express gratitude to them for opening up to you.

Don’t Worry About Answering “I Don’t Know” When Discussing Hospice Care With Children

Inform them that you will inquire with a potential source of information, such as a doctor or relative. Children may ask questions about serious illnesses for which there aren’t any satisfactory answers.  Inform them that some aspects of life cannot be fully understood and that discussing any mysteries they may be curious about with others can be beneficial. Bringing in other perspectives to this difficult conversation can be most helpful for everyone. Discussing hospice care with children and teens often involves exploring their ideas and spiritual beliefs.

Make Them Feel You Are Always There for Them

When kids know they can talk to caring people who will listen to them and support them, they feel stronger. They need to understand that there is no such thing as terrible or improper thinking or emotions. Children and adults alike must also know that they’re not required to “hold it together” or “be strong.”

Explain that it’s normal to experience various emotions and that sharing them is vital. Encourage youngsters to vent their feelings in healthy ways. Crafts, writing, sports, music, dancing, art, or just talking to someone they can confide in are healthy coping mechanisms they can engage in.

Children Need Support and Care Too — Not Just the Unwell Loved One

When caring for someone seriously ill and having hospice care at home, the biggest challenge is balancing the attention parents or guardians provide to each individual. This is where the notion of caregiving in the new normal and regaining work-life balance comes in.

By telling kids the reality of the situation, we can ask them to give us more time and to be forgiving. They may even help out, which can lift some burden from the caregiver’s shoulders. However, youngsters will still need support and love, so adults need to spend quality time with them too.

If you wish to read more hospice-related topics, try reading one of our posts and discover five reasons hospice care benefits patients and families. We hope this article was of help to you and your family. Take care and see you next time!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This
Skip to content