Facing Illness With Friends
* Re “Friends in Sickness and Health,” June 19:
My husband and I, with the help of our siblings and teenage children, manage the care of our elderly parents and in-laws, who suffer from various combinations of dementia, emphysema, stroke and chronic heart failure. It’s quite an effort, even with all our family members involved.
Sick, middle-aged single adults may get the help they need from friends now, when most of their contemporaries are healthy, but what about 30 years from now, when their friends are as infirm as they are? Who is going to take care of the huge number of frail elderly folks who have no children to rely on? Their friends’ children? Not likely.
* I know others in situations like Stephanie Dupin and Crystal Griffiths who may not have such exceptional friends, but who are still receiving extraordinary TLC. In my position as director of an entirely volunteer and nonprofit hospice, I hear stories every week about errands being run, Labradors walked, marigolds planted just outside a patient’s window, life stories recorded for posterity--all by trained hospice volunteers. The emotional and practical support offered by these remarkable people can only be compared to what the best of friends and family will give.
I write this letter to give our volunteers some deserved recognition, but also to encourage any readers coping on their own with the effects of serious or terminal illness to give us a call. There is no charge for our services.
Hospice of Pasadena