We hope to have a long relationship with our clients at Stay at Home, but sometimes that’s just not in the cards.
Betty George of Sevierville, Tennessee, had lived a joyful, active 86 years when she was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. The doctors said she had at most three months to live. Betty had just entered an assisted living facility, but now it was time to come back home. She spent her last days with the help of Marcia Muldoon from Stay at Home of Knoxville.
Marcia stayed with Betty six days a week (if she had had her way, it would have been seven). For the first month, she helped Betty maintain a busy social schedule. Betty was a passionate and skilled bridge player and an outgoing person, so Marcia assisted Betty with friends visiting for bridge and card games, made sure her house was tidy and safe, and helped her keep up with her medications. Marcia also cooked foods that Betty desired and made desserts for her visitors.
Much of what Marcia did was offer companionship and support. Learning that your life is nearly over is difficult for even the most resilient among us. Marcia helped Betty cope with the understandable depression by helping her focus on things that brought her joy. In addition to bridge and other social activities, this involved visits with her children and grandchildren.
And, by taking care of the mundane tasks, Marcia freed Betty’s family to focus on the important things. Betty had sons in Sevierville and Seymour. Because Marcia was there, they were able to focus on their role as sons rather than being forced to worry about the details of caregiving.
Betty suffered a stroke about six weeks after returning home. At that point, Marcia worked with hospice caregivers to make Betty’s time positive. The hospice took care of Betty’s medical needs and made sure she was as comfortable as possible. Marcia continued to be her companion and advocate, even moving to a bed near Betty to keep her calm during the night.
Betty died just over two months after returning home, but not before writing her own obituary with the help of her daughter-in-law. It begins, “My name is Betty Parker Sullivan George,” and you can read it here.
This story was provided by Ryan Crawford, owner of Stay at Home of Knoxville. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.