Life and death both tend to define and prioritize one’s life. The newborn to a family; the death of a spouse, parent, child or sibling – all will cause us to hit the “pause button” and ask, “What matters most, here?”
On Wed, Oct 2nd 2019 my mother passed away in a Florida hospital while I was navigating Boston traffic at the end of rush hour. The call from local family members with her was our last as she was non-responsive from a massive stroke experienced the morning of 10/1 – the time was unknown. Here’s where it gets personal.
Emerging technologies and aging in place (AiP) solutions are just that – still emerging. They’re “emerging” which = NOT mainstream. The term “aging in place” continually elicits blank stares or the polite head-cock and shake that says, “Ahhh, and what exactly is that, now?” Name branding is virtually non-existent. Marketing? Silence…Consumer/user awareness? Nada.
The CCRD senior living community Mom resided in had the life-alert button. A consoling neighbor caught me in the hall, shared her own (5-day hospital visit) stroke experience and in the course of discussion mentioned, “Yeah, I had the pendent. Wasn’t wearing it. Honestly, honey, nobody pushes the button.” Hmmm. My mom’s pendant was on the nightstand >6 hrs. later that afternoon when she was found by security.
We can do better. We must do better as a culture, society and as healthcare professionals.
Employers can pursue meaning benefit solutions for their populations as mentioned in the 7/2/19 post. For me, the personal experience of a family death presents a new motivation to help other adult caregivers of aged parents living at distance to not experience what we as a family just did.
Yes, we can do better and it’s time to expedite the discussions of a significant employer benefit that can be an industry game-changer.
steveneil, MPH, PMP®, CAPS
“More than anything else, what keeps a person going in the midst of adversity is having a sense of purpose.” — John C. Maxwell