What does Quality of Life mean for you? For a 98 year old, nearly blind, and unable to pee without a ‘stent’ in place, it’s being comfortably positioned in the warmth of her garden, with tissues and a cup of tea within reach. A proud woman, she doesn’t like calling her health aids ‘caregivers’ because it makes her sound needy. Instead, they’re companions and a chauffeur.
What does ‘Comfort’ mean to you? Sometimes comfort comes of small pleasures: a loving touch, soothing music. For the 80-year old wheelchair bound man, it’s stroking his cat and getting his feet massaged.
Comfort can take on a different meaning as life winds down: shortness of breath, skincare, dry mouth, constipation along with pain and anxiety. Ensuring these needs are known, and are met, can make the difference to both patient and caregiver.
Of the three siblings, Ricky – the sole daughter – was closest to her mother, Anna. “When my marriage ended, my kids and I lived with my mother. We all adored her.” In the last three years of her life Anna- who died at age 91 – was beset by Dementia. “It was more than memory loss – it was her wonderful personality that vanished.” In spite of the pain of her beloved mother disappearing, Ricky took care of her until the end.