This is kind of a follow up to John’s excellent post at Middle Earth Journal. About 2 weeks ago my my 90 year old mother died. She had been in home hospice for over 2 months. I had a caregiver come in 5 hours a day but for the rest of the time I was her caregiver. Those caregivers were not covered by medicare and it cost my sister and I about $12,000 for those two months. Medicare did cover the Home Hospice service which was truly a blessing. They supplied the hospital bed, wheel chair and Oxygen in addition to all medications. In addition a bath aid came in twice a week and a nurse came in twice a week. It was a sacrifice for me but worth it as mother died peacefully in her own home.
My mother was in good health until she was about 88. She was still walking nearly a mile a day. But about two years ago she had the first event that resulted in an ambulance ride. No hospital stay but several hours in the emergency room. After that she was slowed but not out. She was still going for walks at our favorite park – just not as far. There was another event about a year ago that also resulted in an ambulance ride. That marked the end of the walks but she was still getting around the house.
Then end of October 2012 is when the real downward spiral began. She could no longer sleep in her bed and spent all of her time in a powered recliner in the living room. I slept on the couch next to her so I could help her to the restroom. I called my sister and she came up from Houston. We decided I needed some help so we called an in home care agency. We made arrangements for a caregiver to come in and give me a break 5 hours a day. They also suggested that we make arrangements for Home Hospice which started about two weeks later.
Over the next two months she ate less and less and systems would shut down and then start again. She slept more and more. On the Monday before she passed away she went to sleep in the evening and never really woke up until she died on Friday. To be honest there was very little grieving. I was told that my grieving process had probably started 2 months before and was almost finished. I do miss the caregivers who had become part of the family-I had the same 3 for most of the 2+ months.
I can’t say enough about the caregivers and the Home Hospice team. My sister said it well “until I met these people I didn’t know there was that much empathy in the world.”
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