How to Prepare for Death in Your Own Home

No one wants to face death, yet no one can escape it. What we can do is hope our own death is comfortable, peaceful, and meaningful. Following these tips may help ensure that your death will be.


Plan Ahead and Make Your Wishes Known

Depressed Senior with Young Woman
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Preparing for death should start before you even receive a terminal diagnosis. It's important to take some time to think through your goals, make important decisions, and share them with your loved ones. Completing an advance directive, which is a document that outlines your wishes, is the best way to ensure your end-of-life preferences are honored.


Plan Your Own Funeral

This is another step that doesn't have to wait until you receive a terminal diagnosis. Planning your own funeral ensures that you get what you want for the price you want to pay. Your funeral or memorial celebration will reflect your personality and will be a truly memorable event. Planning ahead also saves your loved ones from having to plan something meaningful in the midst of their grief, which is a great gift to leave behind.


Allow Yourself to Grieve

When an individual receives the diagnosis of a terminal illness, it's normal to have a wide range of emotions and responses. Coping mechanisms, such as denial and anger, may kick in as the individual deals with his or her own grief and the emotions of their loved ones. 


Review Your Life

One of the most important things you will do as you prepare for death is review your life. This is the step most people talk about when they discuss regrets, accomplishments, hopes, and dreams. Doing a life review is a way to bring closure to a dying individual. It can also serve as a legacy of life to the dying individual's loved ones. 

Whether you decide to do an internal life review or record your life story for loved ones, reviewing your life is an important and fulfilling step to take as you prepare for death.


Familiarize Yourself With Common End-of-Life Symptoms

Did you know a majority of people experience shortness of breath near the end of life? It's a good idea to familiarize yourself with the most common end-of-life symptoms so you can recognize them if and when they occur and start treatment. Many of the symptoms that occur at the end of life, such as pain or constipation, can be treated at home, and there are steps you can take to ensure your comfort.


Know What to Expect From the Dying Process

There is a natural process that occurs as an individual nears death, and while each person is unique, the dying process is universal. Many people find it helpful to know what to expect during a typical dying process. This guide will prepare you for what lies ahead on your journey towards death.

3 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Angela Morrow, RN
Angela Morrow, RN, BSN, CHPN, is a certified hospice and palliative care nurse.