Health & Wellness

Boomer Edition | 10th Annual | 2014

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Page 65 of 147

When Enough is Enough, A Local Hospice Provides More Jim Jordan and his wife, Sandra, were on alert for calls from the assisted living facility where Jim's mom, Elaine, was living. Elaine, a fiercely independent woman who had spent her life on the go, had a progressive condition of the nervous system. The disease had become more debilitating, her symptoms compounded. Jim and Sandra found themselves racing to the facility, or the local hospital, following one crisis after another. After one such event, the hospital staff mentioned that it may be time to consider hospice care and gave them a list of local providers. "I knew that it was time," Jim said, "but I hadn't wanted to admit it." Big Decisions Caring for older parents can prove a complex undertaking. Adult children find themselves at the helm of a ship once commandeered by Mom or Dad. Adult caregivers (a whopping 20 million caring for a parent or relative over 75 in the US), want to do right by their parents, but it's not easy. Adult caregivers are faced with scenarios they never envisioned and questions they never imagined having to answer. Among the toughest is: When it comes to medical intervention, when is enough, enough? Turning away from the familiar system of medical care – one we've looked to from baby well checks and 64 • Medical Profile immunizations to physicals and cancer screenings – can feel like abandoning ship. At the end of the day, we want to know that we did "all we could do" for a loved one who is ill or declining. Sadly, people often confuse accessing hospice with giving up medical care altogether. Nothing could be further from the truth. Dr. Britt Olson, Chief Medical Director for Agape Healthcare, Hospice & Palliative Care, says, "There is science and know-how to symptom management and indepth knowledge of how to help people feel better. So when a patient's doctor says, 'There's nothing more we can do,' hospice says, 'There's so much more that we can do.'"

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