When a person is approaching the end of their life, things outside of them begin to lose appeal. You will start to notice they are not doing some of the things they have enjoyed over the years. They begin to not want to see people. This is not to be confused with depression.
For the rest of this article, put the illness of depression aside. What I am talking about here is the 'going inward' of a person who is dying. The person may be depressed as well, or has fought it their whole life, but this process is outside the realm of depression.
What is happening is their focus is now internal. We believe this is the busiest time of life as they do what we call 'life review’ and prepare for the ultimate journey from their body. It may appear to you they are depressed when they refuse guests, activities, or even watching their favorite show - they are not. The closer they are to their death, the more you will notice the withdrawal.
When you see this, know they are working out their lifetime. They are looking back over their life intensely. What this may look like is a strong need to tell you stories and share pictures. You may start hearing about people and incidents that you have never heard before, and they will be sleeping more.
When you begin to notice this process is happening, what you can do now to support them is to sit down and listen. Don't change their story if they are telling it with the wrong details. Let them share as they can. The gifts to give right now are your time and your listening ear. This is priceless.
4-part End-of-Life Doula Series
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Holistic minded people and practitioners now
have a way to combine your skills and talents with your desire to accompany the dying and their families. It is with the new role of Certified CareDoula®, an End-of-Life Doula Specialty.
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