When it comes to the end of our time, most of us want to go peacefully at home with our families if we have the choice. That doesn’t happen by accident. We had no warning with my Mom, who died suddenly, but with Dad three years later, who died blind and deaf with severe complications of diabetes and advanced heart disease, it was a long, agonizing process. For several months it was trips to the emergency room every time he had a crisis until we could find a nursing home, all the while trying to maintain our own jobs, homes and families and still meet his needs. With Medicare rules prohibiting long term care in nursing homes, he had to be self-pay and still had ER trips many times. Over the six months, we drained his finances and our own physical and emotional health.
In his last days, he lay for weeks in severe pain. One day his nurse asked if I knew about hospice. I didn’t. When I became aware, I immediately asked for hospice services. For the first time, Dad was given the pain medications he needed to rest easily, and a week later, he died in relative peace.