Archive for Refusing Help

I’m Busy!

busyExpected or unexpected, after a long life or unfairly short, death comes.

It never arrives alone . . .

  • The bills, sympathy cards, and junk mail pile up like a paper Everest.
  • There are endless follow-up phone calls and half the people don’t call back.
  • You’ve found most documents for the estate, except several are missing key pages with signatures and you’ve looked everywhere, including under the beds.
  • The woman at the funeral home was so kind, but the insurance agency had a confusing phone menu and you still haven’t talked to a real person.
  • The dimwit at the credit card company demanded an official death certificate to close the account even though their web page promised they’d take copies.

Your loved one has died and the business of the estate swamps you. For some, nearly everything is organized because your loved one was a good planner. Folders were labeled. Contact info for insurance and credit card companies were on a spreadsheet. But even with easy-to-find details, “closing the estate” is exhausting.

However, most folks aren’t that organized.

Whether a loved one was thoughtful or neglectful about their finances, your energy in their last months (or years) has focused on coping with the ever-changing demands as their health declined. Who cares about future obligations when a loved one is in pain right now? You should’ve asked your Mom where she kept the stupid little key to the jewelry box when she was alive, but there was always tomorrow . . . until there wasn’t. You should’ve asked your husband about the new insurance agent’s name because the old one had retired. But it was more important to reminisce than to ask dumb questions about “business.”

And what if it was a “sudden death?” Literally everything will be a mess with non-stop stress. Read More →

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The Second R: Hospice Respite*

restI’m not practicing what I’m about to preach on respite* in hospice.

But I have good excuses! (Doesn’t everyone?)

In hospice, a family should consider Medicare’s respite benefit when the patient—when your loved one—has been receiving care for an extended period of time.

Respite is rest. Respite is taking a break from the intensive and extensive support of a beloved family member or friend who is dying. Respite, based on the guidelines of the Medicare hospice benefit, can be for up to five days.

But taking a break is the proverbial easy to say and hard to do.

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Let me give you a trivial personal example of the need we can have for respite. Read More →

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Bed Wars

hospitalbedNo one wants one.

No one likes them.

Some have cranks and levers, wobbly wheels, and are cumbersome to move or adjust.

Newer ones are more complex, have silent electric motors, links for computer cables, and (though pricey) lightweight metal alloy frames.

But who wants to lie in a hospital bed of any kind? Not for overnight, and certainly not for the rest of your life.

I view the hospital bed as one of the intimidating symbols of hospice care. Of course, it’s more than a symbol once it arrives at your home.

Whenever the hospice clinical staff discusses current patients, it’s nearly inevitable that at least one patient has balked at shifting to a hospital bed.

Wouldn’t you refuse? Read More →

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