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More Time for Treasured Moments

Gilchrist takes on her mother’s medical care, so Carol can focus on just being a daughter and sharing treasured moments again.

Treasured Moments
Now under the care of Gilchrist hospice, patient Marion Fickert spends as much time as she can playing piano.

Carol Grap had been worried about her mother, Marion, for some time. At 95, Marion struggled with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and dementia, and her health was declining. Last July, Marion moved in with her daughter, and Carol became her primary caregiver.

Carol worked in the health care field, so caregiving came naturally. She monitored her mother’s blood pressure, kept track of her medications and coordinated care with doctors.

But when Marion fell and broke her arm, Carol could no longer get her mom in and out of bed. “That was the straw that broke the camel’s back,” she said. Worried and exhausted, she knew she could no longer care for her mom by herself. That was when she called Gilchrist.

Treasured Moments Gilchrist
Carol Grap (right) was relieved to have the Gilchrist hospice team, including nurse Garnitha Ferguson and social worker Bonnie Weissberg, focused on her mother’s care.

With Gilchrist, Carol and her mom had the full support of the hospice team, including nurse Garnitha Ferguson and social worker Bonnie Weissberg, as well as a music therapist, chaplain and hospice aide to help with bathing and getting dressed. Carol was relieved to have a team focused on her mother’s care and felt reassured knowing she could call a nurse any time, day or night. “I feel like I’ve had the burden of medical care and stress lifted off of me,” Carol said. “I can now focus on loving my mom and keeping her joyful instead.”

One of Marion’s biggest sources of joy is playing the piano. Both mother and daughter share a love of music, and now, they can spend more time playing and singing. Seeing her play, you would never guess this four-foot-four bundle of energy was seriously ill, let alone on hospice. Though some days she is more cognizant than others, when she sits at the piano, the music naturally pours forth.

Marion loves performing, so Carol regularly brings her mother to nursing homes to play for the residents. At every performance, Marion starts off her set by playing her signature song, “You Are My Sunshine,” while Carol harmonizes and dances along. By the time Marion plays her final song — “When the Saints Go Marching In”— everyone is singing and swaying to the beat.

Moments like these will become treasured memories for Carol in the months and years to come. With the support of Gilchrist, Carol is grateful that her mother is enjoying each day and able to do what she loves. Marion is just as grateful, saying “I am so thankful for this gift of music and to be able to give so much joy to other people.”

To learn more about Gilchrist Hospice Care, visit gilchristcares.org/hospice.

Note: This story was reported before the COVID pandemic. Gilchrist employs full safety protocols including personal protective equipment to keep patients, families and staff safe.

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