You know your father is dying. After all, he’s in his eighth decade of life and his Alzheimer’s has caused him to become a “sundowner,” far too awake at night, sleeping during the day.
You know your wife is dying. Even if you avoid the subject, you were both in the oncologist’s office when the worst news was shared.
You know your ________ is dying. After all, she (or he) is being cared for by hospice.
Hospice is for those with six months or less to live. Six months seems brief, but it represents two season’s worth of togetherness, a summer and an autumn or a winter and a spring. It’s good to have six months so the family and friends living in another state have a chance to visit. Six months means you can settle into routines. Six months means you can plan for “last” events and share memories.
Six months rarely happens. Nearly 15% of patients die within 24 hours of entering hospice care. Over a third (34.5%) will die before the first week concludes. The average length of care from hospice (2013 data) is 18 days. However, in the arena of statistics and odds, there are 11.5% of the over one million patients annually served by hospice that live for six months (or even longer).
Most of us imagine we’ll “beat the odds.” Won’t our loved one be in that 11.5%?
We hope so. We pray so. We want more time.
Death surprises us. Read More →by