A Hand to Hold

Joe was a 64 year old gentleman with autism, who was placed in a nursing home after his father died.  He was a big guy, loved the Yankees, and had a tremendous singing voice, but couldn’t walk and needed full assistance with all activities of daily living.

Joe’s Aunt Edie was appointed as his guardian but lived in Florida and didn’t get to visit very often.    Aunt Edie hired Peace Aging Care Experts to assist her in making sure that Joe was receiving excellent care and was enjoying a good quality of life.

I visited with Joe about every two weeks, oversaw his medical care, took him to doctor appointments and advocated for him when he needed special medical care.  I made sure his birthday was celebrated and sent frequent updates and pictures of Joe to his Aunt Edie so she would feel more connected.

After a few years, Joe got very sick and was in the hospital on a ventilator.  I spoke with the doctors about Joe’s condition and prognosis, which was not good.  I helped Aunt Edie to understand the medical details and she sought my guidance in making the decision to remove Joe from life support.

I stayed with Joe at the hospital as they removed him from the ventilator and throughout the next few hours, to be sure that he was being kept comfortable and had a hand to hold.  I spoke with his Aunt Edie frequently throughout the day so she would know how Joe was doing.  I talked to Joe, reassured him and when he took his last breath, I was still holding his hand.

While I was sad to see Joe pass away, I felt good knowing that up to the end, he was well-cared for and had loving support at his bedside.  His family had that same reassurance.  This is the kind of thing that makes me love what I do.