Filed under Hospice

Eleanor Clift Writes About Hospice

Journalist Eleanor Clift has written a superb article in the August 2011 publication Health Affairs about the hospice experience of her husband, journalist Tony Brazaitis, in the months before he died of cancer. It’s freely available and filled with astute observations and information — a good read for anyone, but especially for families who may have to … Continue reading

Hospice Helps When a Parent With Dementia is Dying

Sometimes acquaintances describe how a hospice program entered the lives of an aging parent during the last week or even in the last few days of life. My husband and I are aware of just how much hospice offered to our family during the four months before his mother died. However, we have spoken with people — who … Continue reading

Washington Post Article on Hospice and Palliative Care

Today’s Washington Post features an article, Progress Needed on End of Life Care, by Janice Lynch Schuster, describing the urgent need for improvements to palliative and  hospice care. The article describes the problems that still exist for many patients at the end of their lives who experience unnecessary suffering and pain. I’ve written about our … Continue reading

End-of-Life Conversations

Over at the Inside Aging Parent blog, Carol recently posted Conversations About End of Life with a link to a BlogTalk radio program interviewing author Kelsey Collins (check out Collin’s videos presentations). I have just listened to the program so I recommend checking out Carol’s post and the radio interview. In her book Exit Strategy:  Leaving this Life with … Continue reading

Check out the “Be the Noodle” Review

While I was intently focused on my Green House posts last week, Inside Aging Parent Care posted a terrific review of Be TheNoodle by Lois Kelly. What I love about this book is the noodle support metaphor. When the summer waters are rough in my beloved St. Lawrence River, a noodle is just the ticket … Continue reading

Hospice: More Days to Say “We Love You”

Thank you hospice. Since reading Dr. Atul Gwande’s New Yorker Magazine article, Letting Go, a piece that describes the end of life (see my recent posting about this article), I’ve been thinking a lot about our hospice experience with a program in Northern Virginia. For some time I’ve wanted to write about those four months, … Continue reading

After a Parent’s Death: Paying Bills

Four months after Mother died her bills have continued to arrive. While we were prepared to pay her final utility bills as well as the end-of-life and memorial service costs, it felt a bit strange to receive so many others, and doubly so more than four months after her death. Yet all of the bills … Continue reading

End of Life Decisions

My post, Aging Parents: Research on End-of-Life Decisions, discussed the University of Michigan study that evaluated how a person’s end-of-life decisions are taken into consideration by hospitals and medical personnel. Pauline Chen, MD, in her regular New York Times column, also wrote about this research, sharing a personal story about her father-in-law’s death. The article … Continue reading

Dementia: More Unlearning

Over the past several days a number of dramatic changes have occurred in Mother’s condition. Three days ago she could suck on a straw, the preferred way of taking in a fair amount of liquids and especially protein milk shakes. And then two days ago she could no longer use a straw. Last week she … Continue reading

Dementia: Mother’s Continuing Decline

During the week between Christmas and New Year’s mother’ decline has accelerated. We realized a day or so before Christmas that our plans to bring her to our house were overly optimistic. She simply did not have the wherewithal to move, eat, climb the few steps or even stay awake for very long. She began … Continue reading

The Hospital Bed

For the past several weeks, Mother’s breathing has grown shallower and faster, and she can’t catch her breath. I am told this is called “air hunger.” Her heart is racing, and it is difficult for her to rest lying down. Mother uses oxygen continuously, and she continues to be severely disoriented. So today hospice arranged … Continue reading

Dementia: Life in Reverse

Mother’s dementia is progressing. I’ve mentioned in other posts, that she needs a caregiver all of the time, except when she is sleeping (she sleeps soundly). She is almost always confused, asking many times a day, “What should I do?” I find myself searching the web for confirmation of what I see each day. Today … Continue reading


Mother is winded whenever she walks a short distance.  She breathes heavily and her heart races. So hospice has delivered two oxygen containers, one that stays in place and another portable device that can move around with her. The permanent one stays in one place, but has a huge tube that reaches to all of the … Continue reading

Getting Started With Hospice

Our family member with dementia is now in a hospice program. She continues to live in her apartment and to be helped by the caregivers that she is used to having as a part of her daily life. Mother was clear that she did not want to go back to the hospital for any reason … Continue reading

Dementia is a Terminal Illness

As I understand it, dementia describes a set of symptoms — I mentioned some of these in my last post.  Different types of dementia seem to have a slightly different configuration of symptoms and some can be diagnosed while others, like Alzheimer’s can be tentatively diagnosed, but only truly documented after a person dies (by … Continue reading