JourneyCare helped family say goodbye to mother

 
By Bob Roig
Posted11/28/2016 6:00 AM
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  • Bob Roig of Barrington helped JourneyCare for many years by serving as emcee for special events, but saw firsthand the benefit of its services when his mother, Bertha, suffered a stroke and had to move to an assisted living facility.

    Bob Roig of Barrington helped JourneyCare for many years by serving as emcee for special events, but saw firsthand the benefit of its services when his mother, Bertha, suffered a stroke and had to move to an assisted living facility. Courtesy of JourneyCare

I knew of JourneyCare long before my family ever needed their team's help.

As a professional DJ, I had helped the organization for many years by serving as emcee for special events like the annual Decades Dance that benefits the pediatric program.

But, eventually, my mother, Bertha, suffered a stroke, leaving her without function on her left side and unable to speak. To help her recover, my siblings and I decided she should live at an assisted living facility.

Quickly, Mom could speak again and regained considerable movement. But within six months, her health rapidly declined once more.

Thanks to all of my work with JourneyCare, I knew who to call and the nurse was very helpful in giving me the information I needed to talk to my siblings, who struggled with coming to terms with Mom's health.

I knew hospice was the right thing to do. But for those who don't understand how it can help, it can be a challenge to convince them of the benefits. You have to reach out and get the facts.

Mom's JourneyCare team was able to care for her at the assisted living facility. And because she often experienced panic attacks and agitation, her team decided she would benefit from a music vigil in her final days.

These bedside vigils are performed by music-thanatologists, who are clinically trained to monitor vital signs like breathing and pulse and then create prescriptive music that calms physical and emotional symptoms.

They performed the bedside vigil using harp and voice to soothe Mom. But it also soothed us. Because when someone you love is in pain, and the pain has been taken away, it is such a profound relief.

Mom died several days later and I cannot explain enough how hospice saved my siblings and me from around-the-clock stress and anxiety.

Hospice eases the pain and lets you have comfort in life, allowing you to enjoy things while you still have them. For us, it allowed mom to go back to being mom.

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