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Elderly friend in hospice


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I have an 83 year old friend Irene who was diagnosed with stage iv nsclc in september 07. We have been in hospice for over four months now. The hospice staff has been great. For a while the nurse visited once/week and the social worker about once every other week. Now the nurse is there 3 times/week, the social worker 2, and a home health aide (who helps with personal care) three times/week. Since my friend has no family, her friends and I would be lost without hospice.

About two weeks ago Irene started having edema in her legs, and things have been downhill ever since. They had to stop the steroids which were at least giving her a little energy and appetite, but now that is gone. She has honored me with her health care directive, financial power of attorney, and appointed me executor.

Whew, this is getting long-winded. Anyway, the hard thing right now is that she lives alone and has been very negative about live in help or even shift workers so she won't be alone. She has always loved her solitude. This has been easy to accomodate up til now, but now it seems she is becoming more confused (about date, time), forgetting meds sometimes, not sure who's visiting today etc etc. Since she is still mentally competent I can't force her to have help. Sometimes I wish she were my mom so I could boss her around more :wink: I worry about her falling, I worry about the meds, but I remind myself that these are her decisions, not mine, not yet.

The hospice board here doesn't look very active, and I haven't seen many caretakers talking about octogenarian patients, but it makes me feel better to know that you are all out there, some of you fighting and some of you accepting.

I'm sixty something, I have my spouse and puppy to give me lots of love through this difficult time. I lost my mom to lung cancer in 1991 when she was 67. This sometimes feels like deja vu.

Thanks for listening.


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Welcome to our board. I think if I were you I would start with asking the hospice social worker what happens from here--how many hours of service they can provide to her as she declines etc. This way you can begin planning what needs to be put in place for her. She is very fortunate to have you to help her.

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