A long time client of ours passed away last week. She was able to remain at her own home and die in her own bed. So many of us wish, when the time comes, that we could do the same. We know this is not the ending place that most experience.
This blog is about the community team that came together to support her.
Mary (not her real name) was widowed many years ago and was not particularly close with her two children. For many many years, Mary had a wonderful neighbour who she viewed as a surrogate daughter and this younger neighbour viewed Mary as a mother figure. So much so that Mary named this younger friend, Nathalie, as her POA for both care and property. This younger friend happened to also be a lawyer and acted in her attorney capacity with commitment, care, consideration and respect towards her friend. By the time we were retained by her attorney, Mary was already living with dementia and needed care supports at home. Mary’s wish was to remain at home. In order to meet this goal, Lori, our care manager worked with a team of caregivers selected and hired from a local home health care company. Tom, the owner of this agency went above and beyond what is typically provided by most home care agencies. He visited, connected with, met with and maintained open and regular communication with both Nathalie, her POA and Lori. As Mary’s health failed, her additional requirements included making the home accessible for her, which included the installation of a stair glide, porch lift, renovations to the bathroom, obtaining the needed mobility devices and other assistive devices to allowher to maintain her independence for as long as possible. Her medical and treatment team now included her family doctor who visited her at home and an excellent palliative care team from the CCAC (now the LHIN).
The excellent care she received from her caregivers and treatment team allowed her to maintain her dignity and have her final wishes carried out. A memorial tea was held last week at Mary’s home to celebrate her life- with all of the care providers and treatment team members who had the privilege of knowing and working with her. It is truly an honour to be able to assist and support our clients in carrying out their wishes. PS. At the memorial tea, one of her favorite caregivers prepared and cooked all of Mary’s favorite foods. A truly fine ending for a truly lovely lady.