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Nearing End Of Life

End Of Life Stages

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Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross defined the five emotional stages to be expected at the end of life. Experience has shown that there is no particular order in which the stages show up and no standard amount of time for which they remain. In fact, you may experience more than one of these emotions at a time. Previously felt emotions may return. The five stages are:

  • Denial 
    • Denial that you are going to die. 
    • Denial can make you feel as if you are in a dream and going to wake up, or that the doctor or laboratory has made a mistake.  
  • Anger
    • Anger can start with the question "Why me?" or "Why now?"
    • It is worth trying to channel anger in a neutral manner (such as breaking inexpensive plates) instead of taking it out on the people closest to you or the medical staff.
  • Bargaining 
    • Attempting to bargain with a higher power such as God or Buddha: "If you spare me, I will....."  
  • Depression
    • In addition to the loss of your own life, depression is often prompted by the things you will no longer do, or separation from the people you love, or the dreams that won't happen. 
    • Depression can be treated with medication and with discussion with a mental health provider.  
  • Acceptance
    • Acceptance that life is going to end and becoming peaceful about it.  

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