There is an extensive focus on the steady growth of aging baby boomers – the reportedly 78 million Americans born between 1946 and 1964 – and their impact on the health care industry, particularly on the hospice industry. As experts continue to look at this growing population, hospice programs are evolving in the services they provide and continue to work at dispelling myths surrounding this specialized form of care.
The face of hospice care is changing. The long-standing myth that hospice care consists of workers or volunteers holding the hand of an elderly patient at their bedside – is being refocused on patients in their 50′s and 60′s who continue to engage in their cherished activities – gardening, creating art, enjoying meals with friends and family, or taking weekend trips – with the help of hospice.
For Nancy, a tenacious and vibrant woman in her late 40′s, recommendations for surgery to treat her brain cancer left her with many unknowns. “Not knowing if or how I would come out of the surgery — that’s not how I wanted to live my life,” declared Nancy. “For me, it’s not about the numbers or how many years I could have left. It was about quality of life and living my life now – that’s why I chose hospice care.” An avid horticulturalist, Nancy continued to live a life that was meaningful to her, which included nurturing gardens and spending quality time with family, thanks to the support and care of San Diego Hospice. The services through hospice that Nancy received was more than she could imagine.
“This all-inclusive care is helping me treasure each moment of life, surrounded by those I love.”
Hospice is considered an ideal model of care, as it focuses on the physical, emotional, spiritual and social needs of patients and their families. And it is that supportive aspect for families that makes hospice care so appealing as a health care option.
Even for boomers who are caring for others, especially children, hospice provides an extra layer of support to continue living life and fulfilling each day’s responsibilities.
A single mother of three, Debra’s seven-year-old daughter Anna lives with many complex health issues. Through San Diego Hospice, the Partners for Children program brings a sense of normalcy to their lives.
“Through this hospice-affliated program, we don’t have to go into the ER constantly or call 911 when Anna has a medical issue,” said Debra. “As a single mom, it has brought a sense of normalcy to my family and there is a huge relief in knowing that Anna is receiving the care she needs, in the comfort of her home, so that she doesn’t have to live in pain.”