For most people today, there is a period of time, sometimes years, before a seriously or critically ill senior can no longer function. Gail Sheehy, author of Passages in Caregiving, discusses how a senior approaching the end of life should not be "waiting to die." A palliative care team, which provides support to both the family and the elderly member in decline, often asks surprising questions that can lead seniors to realize their lives can still have purpose and meaning in the time remaining.
The palliative care team also explores with the senior what the kind of medical care they still require. Questions about chemo or radiation treatments, for instance, at this last stage is often a consideration for anyone with limited time. Ms. Sheehy gives direction and hope for the families and the ailing seniors so that whatever time is left is fulfilling and rich for both.