Living Your Best Until You Can't

I told my husband, who is having health challenges, that people literally, all over the world, listen to my advice and opinions on living the best you can until you can’t BUT to him, I'm just a wife of 60 years.

Since he isn’t listening I’m going to share with you:

With gradual dying from disease or old age, nutrition, what and how much you eat, is the key to quality of living.

Over a period of months with disease and years with old age eating habits and needs change.

Appetite diminishes, the desire to eat decreases, and nothing looks appealing or tastes good. While all this is happening the body’s need to eat, for nutrition, for energy, increases. 

What becomes important isn’t how much you eat but what you eat—-three meals a day is too much. Six tiny snacks will work better for a while. Heavy meat and potatoes are too much while cheese and crackers, yogurt, and soups go down easier. Ice cream, malts, and smoothies are good all the time. 

Ensure Complete or high protein, high calorie smoothies become vital to meal planning. Ensure Complete is the highest calorie (350) and protein supplement (30mg) I have found.

Part of my husband, Jack’s, rationale for not eating is that we are an overweight society and it is healthier to be thin. Therefore, he believes he is healthier having lost 20 pounds and he should keep losing weight.  He is right, we are an overweight society, but as you have heard me say many times, taking care of someone as end of life approaches (disease or old age) is different than taking care of someone who is going to get better. There are new rules. Nutrition is one of the new rules. 

The basic new rule regarding nutrition at end of life is to have a bit of reserve, “meat on your bones,” not a lot of excess weight but a bit of a cushion. That reserve can add to the quality of life for a bit ——-isn’t that a gift we would all like to have?

—— To all you Caregivers out there my wish for you is patience (notice it is the one with a “C”), a listener you can share with and others to help you. Thank you for being mine today.

Something More About... Living Your Best Until You Can't

For more on this subject, I suggest reading my booklet, A TIME TO LIFE: Living With a Life Threatening Illness. This booklet addresses issues of comfort, nutrition, and sleep as they relate to the palliative care patient. It provides guidance to help them live the best life they can within the confines of their body and disease. This booklet is part of the End of Life Guideline Series.  Caregivers will be supported by my guidebook, By Your Side, A Guide for Caring for the Dying at Home. It is knowledge and support for providing care at home. It is written for the caregiver. 


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Molly Graff

Barbara, you have been a guilding light for me and my Hospice & End of Life work for over 30+yrs. And now like you…my husband is experiencing health challenges, and I too am “honoring his choices” which at times can be challenging. So Barbara this is to say…I hear you👩‍❤️‍👩 …and I am here for you…🥰

Barbara, I also appreciate being reminded about the smaller meals and I would add the value in finding “something” that keeps us moving on a regular basis. All this within a community of people that love and support us facilitate “Living Your Best Until You Can’t!
May Peace and Love Surround You and Your Family, and Thank You for Your Life’s Work…it has Changed Mine! Molly💕
BK Books replied:
Hi Molly, thank you for your kind words of support. I will hold you and
your husband in my heart also. Blessings! Barbara


Thank you so much for all of the informative booklets. I have recently purchased them all. They are so helpful and I have only read a couple so far. I am helping to care for a family member and I am so grateful to have these booklets to read.
Thank you so much, Deb S.
BK Books replied:
Hi Deb, blessings to you and your family as you begin this new journey.
Have you thought about getting a hospice to help you? Barbara

Christine A. Smith

My bones ALWAYS have a meat reserve! You’re putting even a little MORE life into EOL today! Hired to care-give in nearly 100 homes, I’ve heard about or seen your booklets several times. Thank you for being an expert at describing the EOL process and publishing so that more are informed.
BK Books replied:
Hi Christine, my bones have more than they really need also—-sweets are my
comfort food. Blessings to you in the work you are doing. Barbara

Nancy Rhine

Beautifully written and helpfully truthful, as always, Barbara. Thank you. My husband is nearing end of life and one of the things he can still enjoy is a good bowl of pasta or ice cream or some chocolate cake. So, I agree, the rules about nutrition (he was always in great physical shape, trim, strong) have changed. And we are fine with that.
BK Books replied:
Hi Nancy, My blessings to you and your husband. Barbara

Lynn Patten

I work in a healthcare facility as an administrative assistant so I am not healthcare trained and do not work directly with patients. However, my mother is 88 and my father has already passed. I find all the information/advice you give so helpful. I wish I would have known about you before my dad passed, but I am grateful now to soak in your wisdom. Keep sharing – you bless so many!
BK Books replied:
Hi Lynn, blessings to you in the important work you are doing. You don’t
have to have healthcare training to touch lives and make a difference, in
your office, in your personal life. I wish you and your mother well. Barbara

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