85 years old and 80 years old
We were first introduced to Howard F when he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He refused to stay in Hospital and wished to pass away at home in the comfort of his beachfront apartment. Providing palliative care is an exhausting honour for my staff and one that they take very seriously. Keeping the dignity and spirit of both the living and the dying involves both tact, sensitive timing and the ability to deal with the ebb and flow of life and all its’ messy details. Pivotal to this process is effective pain relief, which is a specialist medical subset of skills that we outsource to the best organisations we can find, such as ; St Vincent’s, Karuna and Circle of life.
One of Howards last wishes was that we continue to stay there in his apartment unit and provide support for his supposedly frail wife June, a former catwalk model who at that stage was starting to exhibit onset symptoms of age related dementia. Surprising all of us, June kept our staff for a further ten years , eventually requiring 24/7 care after a difficult series of bowel surgeries.
Despite her increasing dementia, June never stopped being the lady of the house and always had high expectations of all the staff in terms of deportment, pronunciation and dress standards. On many occasions June called me to subtly request I speak to a particular carer to inform them that their shoes were not a good match for the rest of their outfit.
Although exceedingly frail and often confused, June remains a arbiter of taste and style into her mid-nineties and is still very particular about whom she allows into her home.