Australia's population is ageing and dying older. As we get older, we are more likely to use aged care services. End of life is a normal part of life. It is also part of aged care.
We all have different backgrounds and experiences. We learn about death from our families, our community and through books and TVs and social media. Some of us have experience with death through our personal life. Some of us have religious beliefs that shape our views.
Think about where your attitudes and understanding to death and dying come from. This can be important in helping you understand your feelings when someone dies.
Many older people die in residential aged care or while receiving a home care package. The care they receive in the last months and weeks of life makes a difference to them, their family and to the people providing their care.
Most careworkers will care for a resident or client who will be coming to the end of their life.
If you have not cared for someone who has died before, you may find it hard. You may be sad and confused, and unsure what you feel and how to act. Reach out to your co-workers for support. Remember that the care you provided made a difference to the person and their family.
Talk to your family and friends about your feelings and take care of your physical well-being. You may wish to participate in rituals or ceremonies at work that mark the death of an older person and acknowledges the life they lived.
We can all help others in our team to be prepared to cope when caring for residents and home care clients. You can gently make sure new staff know that older people will come to the end of their life and that caring for them help them and their families. Guide them if they don’t have much experience in talking to people who are coming to the end of their life. Encourage them to talk about their feelings and to participate in memorials and rituals.
Sometimes, you can feel distress and grief. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help. There may be someone at work you can talk to or your GP can help.
There are also some good resources available that can help you.
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Page updated 16 December 2021