I was interviewed for a series running on Nashville Public Radio called, “The Cost of Dying.” My interview is featured in the segment, “Home is Still a Hard Place to Die.”
I am grateful to Blake Farmer for reporting on the cost and challenges of end-of-life care. It’s a topic that is not discussed enough, until one finds themselves dealing with death in their own family.
Farmer took note of my essay, “Dying at home is not all it’s cracked up to be,” which appeared in my essay collection, The Reluctant Caregiver. That essay sparked a lot of debate on social media, because it revealed that there is another side to the aging-dying at home trend, and it’s not pretty. It’s one that family members often silently suffer through, because they feel guilty if they complain.
As it’s made clear in the Nashville Public Radio report, I am not anti-hospice by any means, and I know there are wonderful people who work in the industry. It is not a job I could imagine doing, and I think it takes a special kind of person to care for the dying and their families on a daily basis. But especially in rural areas, there are simply not enough hospice and home hospice providers available. That means the care falls upon family members, which is what I experienced with my mother. It was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done, and while I don’t regret caring for my dying mother, I wish I had been better supported.
Farmer’s series places a spotlight on the challenges of dying at home, from interviews with family caregivers to an examination of the growing hospice industry. I encourage you to listen to the series and read the accompanying reports.