Published on November 1, 2019
Most of our patients prefer to stay in their own homes surrounded by loved ones, fond memories, and favorite things. Not surprisingly, most Americans when surveyed also report that they would like to die at home.
Some of our home patients live with family, like Melvin. His granddaughter converted her living room into a bedroom, so she could keep him close, bringing him ice cream late at night just as he did for her when she was a little girl. They prioritized time together, and every day at their place felt like a special occasion with close friends and other family members stopping in to share, “I love you’s.”
Others, like Peggy, continue living on their own with a little help from their friends. An active member of her Brentwood community, Peggy was known for her wicked sense of humor and her devoted companion Truman, a long-eared Bulldog who helped raise funds for local parks. Peggy’s home had always been a gathering place for friends. Whether it was SEC Saturday nights or The Bachelor watch parties, everyone knew they could expect warmth, laughter, and good food at Peggy’s.
None of that changed when she was diagnosed with rapidly advancing ALS. Within a year, Peggy needed a wheelchair, could no longer speak, and required a feeding tube for sustenance, but her home remained a place of connection. Her friends rallied and formed “Peggy’s Circle of Love,” a group of 10-12 caregivers who allowed her to stay in her childhood home. They worked with Alive to learn how to feed and care for Peggy and developed a schedule with the Alive team that ensured all Peggy’s needs were met. Up until she died, Peggy was still at home with Truman, surrounded by friends and laughter.