Reaching out across the Web .. ...分享 http://blog.sciencenet.cn/u/zuojun Zuojun Yu, physical oceanographer, freelance English editor

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Final days of some old people in Hawaii

已有 2281 次阅读 2017-6-5 15:42 |个人分类:Uniquely Hawaii|系统分类:海外观察|关键词:Final,days,,old,people,,Hawaii| old, Days, Hawaii, people, final

(有空时翻译成中文)


Final days of some old people in Hawaii


C’s mom was as graceful as anyone I have ever met, who had her hair done and dressed in muumuu when inviting people to dine out. We were fortunate to join her family on all major US holidays. Before that, I never celebrated the Easter Sunday. C’s mom gave that holiday a non-religion meaning, that is, to celebrate new life in general.

As time went by, C’s mom gradually retired from hosting semi-family gathering. Eventually, she developed dementia. She was fortunate enough to stay at home. When she could no longer care for herself, she had two helpers, each staying with her for 12 hours straight. These helpers did not cook for her. (They were paid by hourly wages. I don’t remember the exact rates, but it was more than $10/hr. You can figure out the monthly cost. I think the medical insurance paid for at least part of it.) Luckily, C has a brother, so the two took turns to send food to their mother.

In her final days, she was put in hospice care at a hospital wing. (Hospice care is a type of care and philosophy of care that focuses on the palliation of a chronically ill, terminally ill or seriously ill patient's pain and symptoms, and attending to their emotional and spiritual needs. From wikipedia) Her mind was clear during the final days, when she requested my visit.


S’s mother-in-law was a lot more demanding, probably because she had dementia. S was born in Japan, but she carries both Japanese women’s gentleness and American women’s toughness. She never complained about anything when we met for lunch or tea once every few months, until her mother-in-law drove her nuts. Dealing with an aging parent became part of our conversation.

Eventually, her mother-in-law was sent to an adult daycare, just like a kid’s daycare, leaving home in the morning and coming home in the afternoon. S’s husband was the main caretaker, and S’s son helped. They struggled for years taking care of the grandma, until the very end.


I never met G’s mom, but as if I knew her. G was a yoga class C1 regular, just like me. We gradually became friends. G lives in LA, but visited Honolulu twice a year, each time for at least a month to take care of her mom, who was blind and had dementia. When G was not around, her sister and brother took care of their mother.

When G and her siblings decided that their mother needed hospice care, the doctor arranged for home hospice instead of using a hospice facility. The hospital was very supportive, and within a few hours of their request, the hospice team arrived.  One registered nurse, and one LVN (Licensed Vocational Nurses) who bathed and changed their mother. They even offered the family religious personnel as well as a social worker.

Final note: a yoga classmate of mine does house calls to her clients. I have tremendous respect for her and her work. And a yoga teacher of mine is a social worker. I am very fond of her, too.

How much I wish all these are available in China, now.



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