In recent months, America has witnessed three public figures choose comfort care in their last days of life: Barbara Bush, Aretha Franklin and Senator John McCain. Although we don’t know exactly when during the course of their illness they chose to suspend curative treatment, we do know that each of them wanted to spend their last days at home with those they love.
For people with Parkinson’s disease (PD) and other neurological conditions, it can take a long time to move around and communicate with others in day-to-day living. Standing up is hard. Walking happens in small, shuffling steps. You may speak softly or experience a delay in connecting thoughts to speech. At Visiting Nurse of HopeHealth, our therapy team has seen great results improving the quality of life for PD patients through the LSVT BIG® and LSVT LOUD® therapy programs. These innovative methods, part of the Lee Silverman Voice Treatments, have been proven effective by decades of clinical research and are used worldwide.
For people who are terminally ill, animal-assisted therapy has been shown to address the basic needs of love, belongingness and self-esteem, according to a 2014 study published in the psychology journal of Mount Saint Mary College. Animal therapy is also associated with natural pain management and emotional support, a decrease in loneliness and an increase in socialization.
For Ellen Aldrich, renewing wedding vows with her husband, Frank, was “a very special, poignant and meaningful moment in our lives,” she tearfully recounted of the September 2016 event. The ceremony, an early celebration of their 50th wedding anniversary, occurred at Hope Hospice’s McCarthy Care Center (MCC) in Sandwich, MA, just days before Frank’s death. (Hope Hospice is part of the HopeHealth family of services.)
Three decades ago, Marlene McCarthy was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 44. She then spent many years in doctors’ offices and clinics, enduring multiple treatments and therapies and suffering intense chronic pain. A few years ago, Marlene’s primary care physician recommended palliative care, leading her to Dr. Jennifer Ritzau of Hope Palliative Care, part of the HopeHealth family of services.
If you’re caring for someone with a serious illness, you know the road can be tough. Caregiving can wear you down emotionally and physically and make it hard to respond to others. Here are some tips to avoid burnout and be ready for the task of caregiving.