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The Mensinger Family's Story

Making a Difference in Our Community 

It is our privilege to create a space for all the moments, big and small, that are a part of this important time in an individual and family’s life. Carol Mensinger shares her family’s journey with terminal illness and how the Merlin and Carolyn Hanson Hospice Center played a key part in that journey.

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Carol and husbandCarol Mensinger shares -

Our mom, Janice Mensinger, was first diagnosed with congestive heart disease at age 77. After three hospital stays in the beginning of 2018, and a final diagnosis thather heart had declined drastically, our family met with the palliative care team at the hospital. It became clear that it was hospice care that mom needed, and we made the arrangements with Caring Circle to move her home.

I don’t really think mom knew how quickly she would deteriorate. As her family, we certainly did not.

We took turns caring for her all day and all night. Our social worker, Amanda, realized the exhaustion and stress our fear for mom’s safety was having on us. I will never forget how wonderful she was in telling us about the Merlin and Carolyn Hanson Hospice Center and explaining that we could now just be mom’s family–her husband, her children, and her grandchildren. We didn’t need to be her 24/7 care providers; the Hanson Hospice Center would take care of that.

Butterfly room number two at the Hanson Hospice Center became our new home with mom. We slept with her in her private room, ate with her, and listened to Cubs games on the radio. We talked, prayed, and shared feelings, memories, laughter, and tears.

Janice with her husband at Hanson Hospice CenterThe staff opened their arms and hearts with amazing care and love for mom. As much planning as mom and our family did, we were overwhelmed and financially unprepared for what 24/7 care meant. The reality of our family’s situation, I am sure, is one that is not uncommon to many families. We were considering the possibility of having to move our mom to a facility that Medicaid would cover. Brandon, our Hanson Hospice Center social worker, got involved in the conversation and let us know about a special resource that the center had established. When all other avenues failed, we received a phone call letting us know that our mom qualified for financial assistance through the benevolent care fund.

My brother said it best: “our family truly won the lottery that day.”

Mom passed away at the Hanson Hospice Center on a beautiful sunny, Sunday morning. Our family surrounded her, held her hands, and kissed her forehead as she let out her last breath with such a look of peace on her face. Later that evening a beautiful rainbow appeared over Mensinger Vineyards, one final sign that Mom was now in her heavenly home.

Our family will be forever grateful to the Hanson Hospice Center and the wonderful staff who cared for mom day and night. Without a place like this I don’t know how we would’ve been able provide the quality of life mom was able to have while making all the memories we did in the final months.

We are sharing the story of how average families, who aren’t prepared to care for loved ones, can tremendously benefit from the generosity of those who donate to provide these services. I cannot put in words the gift that it has been for our family. We’ve been through it and realize the importance it has.

There are just no words to adequately say thank you. Our Caring Circle team needs your support–please make your gift today. I’ve made mine!

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