Sunday, December 21, 2014

DEALING WITH DEATH AT HOME

Dealing with Death at Home
For two years, Chris Morris had dreaded this conversation - the one where he would tell his two young boys that their mother was going to die of breast cancer.
A reader called to ask about how to talk to people who are dying. She'd read my story about caring for my husband as he was dying of brain cancer, and she had questions about her brother, who had had kidney cancer and other serious health problems.
Helpful links for caregivers
Dealing With Death at Home
A husband’s last weeks found his wife unprepared — and wishing she had asked more questions.
I was watching my son play soccer on a beautiful late September morning when my husband called with the kind of news that divides a life into before and after. There was little doubt that he had a malignant brain tumor. He would almost certainly die, and soon.
At the Warminster Campus of Abington Health Center, hospice director Lynn O’Brien (left) talks with Allen Fellows, 90, a patient with congestive heart failure, and his daughter, Ruth Mason.
At the Warminster Campus of Abington Health Center, hospice director Lynn O’Brien (left) talks with Allen Fellows, 90, a patient with congestive heart failure, and his daughter, Ruth Mason.
Dealing With Death at Home
Death is a topic few want to discuss. But ignorance makes caregiving harder.
Friends may lose family members, but they rarely talk about the uglier aspects of dying. We all conspire to protect one another - and perhaps our loved ones' dignity - from the smells, sounds and suffering that accompany the slow shutdown of vital organs. But our reluctance to talk about the mechanics of decline and caregiving comes at a price. Ignorance can make first-time caregiving more frightening and disturbing.
Vincent Cannuscio, with grandson Caleb Rader, died in 2008. His daughter says, “It is truly a balm” to know that “I didn’t let the rest of life interfere.”
Vincent Cannuscio, with grandson Caleb Rader, died in 2008. His daughter says, “It is truly a balm” to know that “I didn’t let the rest of life interfere.”
Stacey Burling writes: I wished that someone had condensed end-of-life wisdom for me before my husband got so sick. So I asked people who cared for family members dying at home what thoughts and tips they might offer. I also asked a few experts. Here are some of their observations.