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Tag Archives: end-of-life

I Provide Comfort; I Leave the Rest to God

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When I watched my brother’s and sisters’ children when they were young, I really focused on keeping their children alive during my care. They presented me two or three adorable little beings to watch, relying on me to keep them safe and entertained. When my siblings returned from their outings, I made sure to present to them their children, perhaps with a few bandaids, but always in as good as shape as I received. A ...

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EXTREME Caregiving: Our Journey Has Reached Conclusion

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Sunlight was still streaming through the window and I sat on the bed across from my sister-in-law one last time. I held her hand  as she drew her final breath. For her, everything had always been a struggle, but her final hours were not. She went so peaceful and gently and is now with the Lord. My sister-in-law left all her pain behind at 5:59 p.m. on Monday, March 30, on her mother’s birthday. One ...

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EXTREME Caregiving: Holding Pattern

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It has come to the point in my SIL’s care that this time she will not bounce back as we had hoped. Hospice has increased to daily This is comfort care and we have decided we will keep her home, where she is safe and surrounded by people who love her. Each moment is an eternity. When minutes have passed it seems like hours. She is comfortable, I have wax melts burning in her room, ...

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Aftergiving, Caregiving, and Divine Appointments

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If you follow my blog you know that I am a 40-something, sandwich generation caregiver to my mom, Grace, who suffers from mixed dementia. As I have mentioned before, her old church friends still visit her on Sundays and the deacons from her church bring her communion. This is a nice gesture because nowadays the elderly are forgotten and written off and in some countries euthanized. I joke about me being a Vulcan like Spock ...

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“We Did It” or the Best Caregiving Ending

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Last summer, a family caregiver sent me a question to answer in my Ask Denise column. The question, quite simply, was: Does caregiving ever end well? Today, on Table Talk on Your Caregiving Journey, Holly, who cared for her husband, shared how well caregiving can end. During our podcast, Holly shared that after Dave died, she sat on her couch and said, “We did it.” She celebrated the peaceful, loving transition that was as beautiful ...

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Being Mortal, Being a Family Caregiver

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I just finished reading Being Mortal by Dr. Atul Gawande, whose 2010 article in The New Yorker, “Letting Go,” put him on my radar. His article focused on how much we do at end of life which really just ruins end of life. His profile of a patient and her difficult death because of too much treatment also appears in Being Mortal. We chose Being Mortal for our January Caregiving Book Club because it seemed ...

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Doctors, Doctors and More Doctors

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I don’t know if anyone else had such harrowing experiences dealing with healthcare for the chronically Ill with several serious illnesses at the same time. As i have a few days to think and re-assess my caregiving responsibilities I’m reflecting on the past few months. Did you ever want to drop-kick a doctor? Or perhaps the whole team? Did you ever look at the team of 12-year-old med students and think to yourself how can ...

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The Saddest Switch: From Searching for a Cure to Providing Comfort

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My sister’s father-in-law suffered a mild heart attack on Super Bowl Sunday. He’s in intensive care undergoing tests to uncover the cause. They’ve already determined his kidney function is compromised and that the chemo he underwent this month for his colon cancer caused damage to his heart. A very tough time approaches for the family. How do they know when to pursue more treatments? When does the priority become comfort rather than a cure? It’s ...

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Acknowledging Last Wishes (Part 1)

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As a caregiver, my mind sometimes goes to the unthinkable. “What if this is our last Christmas with Mom?” Am I making her last years memorable? In 2013, things were too chaotic. Not only did we host the holiday at “my” home, but I was also the only one who cared for my mom on and around the holidays. The morning routine is maddening but add holiday hustle and bustle?…I vowed we wouldn’t do that ...

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The Many Faces and Ages of Caregiving

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Many times I think our society thinks  of caregivers as middle aged with aging parents or spouses .Although that is true there are many children and young adults who are thrown into caregiving roles. My kids who are now in their early 20’s have helped me care for my grandmother when she was alive and now my mom as well.They have over ten years of experience with medications, food prep,laundry care and companionship. Of course ...

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