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Wednesday, February 21,  2007 - Issue #315

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From The Editor

Henry and Grace

As a couple, Henry and Grace taught me as much as anyone ever has about living life to the fullest, not in words but by example.  They were my parents best friends for 40 years and the four of them spent much of their times together laughing.  As a teenager, I remember times where I was living through an early role reversal, with me as the adult and the four of them as a pack of fun-loving kids out too late. Henry and Grace worked together for the entire time they were married in the professional recruitment agency they started in the early sixties. Even though I worked for them right after college, I never saw them argue. They were truly a Yin and Yang couple.  Grace would be out front, fearlessly contacting anyone necessary for their business to succeed; scolding bank presidents as if they were her kids and out lawyering the lawyers.  Henry would be sitting in the back office, tallying up the numbers while he smoked his pipe, keeping the engine running smoothly.  I�m sure they thought these were times which would never end. I know I did.

About five years ago, Henry developed Parkinson�s disease, a diagnosis they handled in their usual manner, learning what they could to battle the disease while attempting to keep a smile on their faces as often as possible. This past December, Henry was also diagnosed with lung cancer which started a steady decline ending with his passing this past weekend. Over the past few months, Grace�s demeanor started to exhibit a lifetime of pain as they realized that this was one battle in which they would not be victorious. Although they did not have any children, they had a great group of personal friends who, while respecting their desire for privacy, worked together to make sure they were supported in any way possible.

Grace was adamant that Henry stay at home and would not even consider any alternative. When time came for hospice care to be considered, they were moved by the caring and capable help that they found at their service. Henry was touched when talked to, nurses were professional and respectful and everyone was responsive when called. I was called to the house at 4 a.m. this past Sunday, with expectations of Henry�s passing within the hour, but as usual, he was sticking to his own schedule and passed twelve hours later.  Even after he passed, we received calls and emails from the hospice staff offering condolences and asking if there were anything else they could do to help.

There are so many misconceptions about what Hospice is and what it can offer that I am afraid too many family caregivers and even physicians do not consider the option for their loved ones and clients when it is called for. I can tell you firsthand, just how much a shame that would be.


Take care
Gary Barg


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Feature Article

Financing Hope with Modest Means


by Cheryl Ellis, Staff Writer


Geneva and her husband struggle each month to make ends meet since she had to leave her job last year to care full-time for her daughter...Continued

Additional Articles:

Ovarian Cancer Basics: Discussing Risks
and Treatment Options

by Sandra Ray, Staff Writer

The American Cancer Society reports that ovarian cancer is the eighth most common cancer among women today..   ...Continued

Changing The Status Quo
By Jennifer Wilson, Staff Writer

By the year 2020, it�s predicted that there will be over 52 million older adults, representing about 16% of the population. ..Continued


Guest Column

Mothering and Daughtering
by: Kory Sessions-Riseley


She is standing at the kitchen sink ready for church: flowered skirt, knit top, matching blouse, stockings, comfortable shoes, makeup.......Continued


Forty-Eight Mental Breaks for Caregivers

Caregiving takes a lot of time. Even if you had spare time to daydream in the first place, it�s probably gone now. ...Continued




My mother has had MS for 29 years now. She can't walk except to transfer, is dealing with incontinence, finds it too difficult to bathe, can't feel her feet at all, and has some difficulty transferring. Beyond that I think her cognitive skills are greatly on the decline. My father died nine years ago and I am the only child. My husband and I live one block from her and are the only family within 3 hours.

My husband and I basically will take care of all the errands she has problems with like banking and some shopping, pick her up when she falls, and take her to appointments. I've tried working for her more; but she is just so nasty to me that I can't handle it...even one day a week led to major problems when she started cancelling her ladies and tried to get me over there multiple times a day; with a toddler that isn't really possible.

She has homecare, but she won't allow more than 8 hours a week which she often cancels. Her house is a total mess with stacks of paper everywhere. She refuses more help and if we clean anything we are thanked with a month of yelling and insults; and our work undone in a few days. Her mess actually resulted in a broken foot last year when she drove her wheelchair into a piece of exercise equipment that was sticking out into the hallway. I kind of think she is hoarding.

Anyways, I was just wondering how you guys all deal with aging family members who shut help out and are incredibly mean spirited. I'm just so frustrated with it that I WISH I didn't have to deal with it anymore. The worst part is because she gets so little care she often has health crisis. So I know at some point she is going to take ALL of my time which makes it very difficult to plan finishing my degree, trying for another baby, etc etc because I always fear that I'm not going to have the time to properly devote to it.


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Inside This Issue:

From the Editor
Henry and Grace
Feature Article
Financing Hope with Modest Means
Guest Column
Mothering and Daughtering

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