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  • Writer's picture Gabrielle Elise Jimenez

The Five Senses

Something I teach in my classes, and focus on relative to caring for someone who is dying, is paying attention to the person who is lying in that bed and what they hear, see, smell, feel and taste. Imagine if we paid closer attention to these things and what a difference it might make for someone who is dying.

I always think about what they can see from their bed, such as photos, art work, flowers, or outside a window... What if you moved their bed so they can see out the window, or made sure fresh flowers were in a vase and all their favorite people were in frames next to their bed.

I think about their pillows, their blankets and their clothing... is it soft, is it scratchy, is it cozy? How can you change that for them?

What do they hear as they lay in that bed, day after day? Do they hear someone else talking, or whispering (which is worse), someone else's music choices, or the tapping of fingers on a cell phone? What if you simply put on music they enjoyed, or opened a window so they can hear birds, or even children playing?

What are they tasting? Is their mouth dry? Because if so, it would make everything else bitter and not very enjoyable. What if you moistened their mouth and offered strawberries or watermelon?

What do they smell? Did you light your favorite candle or put your infuser on blast? Do they like that? Did they ask for that? What if they struggle with smells and are silently struggling and unable to tell you?

If someone is lying in a bed, whether they are sick or it is the end of their life... tap into their five senses to help make them a little more comfortable. While they still have a voice, ask them what they would want. I believe that all human beings deserve this.



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