When a person has a disease that cannot be treated and is expected to die prematurely, this is called a terminal illness. For example, in the United States, over 550,000 people die of cancer each year. Other terminal diseases include lung disease, dementia, and advanced heart disease.
People with terminal illnesses face unique challenges and have specific needs. If you’ve received a terminal diagnosis, you may have emotional, legal, and financial concerns. You can make it easier to cope with your condition by taking these steps following your diagnosis.
1. Seeking Support
It’s natural to be angry, disappointed, and depressed if you’ve been diagnosed with a terminal illness. One way to sort through your emotions is to seek a therapist. Google “Manhattan therapy” to locate a professional counselor or psychologist in New York (or wherever you live) who you can talk to confidentially. Find a professional who offers in-person and online counseling so you can still attend your sessions even if you’re ill and unable to travel to their office. A qualified therapist can help you process your feelings and deal with difficult decisions prompted by your situation.
You may also benefit from joining a support group with other people who are terminally ill. Joining a support group will enable you to connect with others in the same situation, and you can be confident they understand how you’re feeling and the challenges you’re facing.
In addition to individual therapy, you may also want to have couples counseling. Your partner may also need emotional support to come to terms with your diagnosis. Family counseling may be appropriate if you have young children or close family members who are struggling to accept your condition.
Although a terminal illness can affect your daily routine and activities, it’s crucial for your spouse to know how to be a better husband and support you during this time. You may be seriously ill, but that doesn’t mean you’re incapable of intimacy. Provide your spouse with resources that reassure them it’s okay to initiate foreplay. Although you’re terminally ill, you and your spouse can still concentrate on growing as a couple and create meaningful memories in the time you have left. With the right guidance, he can learn how to be a better husband for you during this challenging time.
2. Exploring Financial Options
You may be unable to continue working due to your health. You may also choose to stop working to enjoy the time you have left. This can affect you financially, but there are options you can consider to solve some of your financial woes.
If you have a life insurance policy, you can opt to surrender the policy for the cash-in value. You can also pursue a life settlement or a viatical settlement. With life and viatical settlements, you sell your insurance policy to a buyer who pays a lump sum of cash to become your policy’s beneficiary. Anyone can pursue a life settlement for any reason. Viatical settlements are limited to individuals who are terminally ill. People who qualify for viatical settlements will receive more money from the settlement. The money is also tax-free.
There are many charities and organizations that provide resources for terminally ill patients. Some provide cash resources. Other organizations also have volunteers who transport people to medical appointments.
You may qualify for social security disability benefits, Medicare, and food stamps. Review all benefit options and apply to ensure you receive the resources you’re eligible for. Your expenses may increase if you need to have a personal care aide come to your home to help you with housework or provide personal care. You may also need to have physical therapy, expensive medical treatments to pay for or be prescribed costly medications. If you’re unable to afford the treatment, you may qualify for pharmaceutical discounts or opt to participate in a clinical trial and receive free medical treatment.
3. Setting Goals
Consider the things you want to accomplish in the time you have left. Some people create a bucket list and focus on completing those items. Think about the things you’ve always dreamed of doing and consider what’s feasible. Prioritize the essential items and focus on accomplishing them. You may still be able to travel internationally or may choose to focus on traveling in your country. You may also emphasize activities, such as riding in a hot air balloon or skydiving.
You can also prioritize time with friends and family. There may be childhood friends you haven’t seen in years that you want to see again. You may also want to visit your hometown or a location where you spent family vacations when you were a child. Creating goals will help you focus on positive experiences during the time you have left.
4. Exploring Your Spirituality
If you’re a person of faith, you may want to spend time talking to your minister or imam to receive spiritual guidance. You may also want to perform religious rituals, such as getting baptized or traveling to Mecca for the Hajj.
You can also pursue a free tarot reading from a psychic. A Tarotscope is a tarot horoscope that combines principles from tarot card readings and astrology. Each horoscope sign has a specific tarot card that identifies their sign and characteristics, based on their birth date. You may also opt to have a psychic reading or learn about your horoscope sign. Turning to a psychic for advice through numerology, astrology, psychic readings, and tarot readings can help you determine what issues you should resolve and what you can anticipate in your final days.
5. Making Final Preparations
Consult an attorney and make legal arrangements to ensure your wishes are fulfilled. First, you may want to appoint a medical power of attorney. This person is authorized to make medical decisions on your behalf. You may reach a point in your treatment where you’re unable to make your own decisions. Your medical power of attorney will be consulted if decisions needed to be made while you’re in surgery or if you’re unconscious. A living will determines what procedures you’ve authorized medical professionals to perform.
You may also discuss your wishes with your doctor and lawyer. Your local health department can provide you with a do not resuscitate (DNR) form if you do not wish to have life-saving measures taken if you stop breathing. You should have a copy of the form filed with your doctor and your attorney to ensure your choices are respected.
Your attorney can also formalize arrangements to assign financial power of attorney to the person of your choice. The person with the financial power of attorney can be authorized to cash checks and pay bills on your behalf. Authorizing a financial power of attorney will ensure your financial responsibilities are handled.
Prepare a will to ensure that your estate will be distributed per your wishes. You may also opt to create a trust fund to finance a scholarship in your memory or create a charity for a worthwhile cause.
You can also meet with a funeral director to make your final arrangements. It can be difficult for family members to make choices on your behalf. If you plan your funeral and choose between burial and cremation before you pass, you will have confidence that your wishes will be respected. You can also choose to leave messages for close friends and family and pick the music that will be played at your funeral service. If you choose, you can write your obituary and make arrangements for people to donate to a charity instead of sending flowers after you pass.