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Transform caregiving time to quality time

Kristin Perrien and family working on quilt

At the age of 86, Carolyn Perrine still lived independently, took daily walks, delivered meals to homebound friends, drove to town to buy groceries, played her piano, and quilted. This strong sense of independence meant her family was shocked when Carolyn called an ambulance for herself one day and was admitted to the hospital.

Their world was quickly turned upside down when Carolyn’s MRI showed a large, terminal, brain tumor. Chemotherapy and radiation were scheduled by her oncology team to help extend her quality of life. Carolyn’s children took turns staying with her in her home to help provide care and coordinate medical needs.

Once Carolyn completed her treatment, it became clear that she would need consistent care that couldn’t be maintained where she was. The decision was made to move Carolyn in with her son, Gary, and daughter-in-law, Kristin.

After the move, Kristin was able to more easily recognize the need for hospice care and called Caring Circle.

“Instead of waiting for a callback from the doctor, we could have a hospice nurse on the phone immediately,” said Kristin. "Instead of spending hours trying to find the equipment we needed to take care of her, it was delivered to the house.”

She continued, “All the medications came by mail. Instead of going by ambulance to the ED to take care of emergencies, the nurses were able to do all those things in our home.”

For 40 days, Caring Circle reduced the burden of taking care of Carolyn’s physical needs and helped transform what had been caregiving time into quality family time. Together, Carolyn and her children made cookies, finished one of Carolyn’s quilting projects, reminisced, and connected with family and friends both in person and on the phone.

One of Carolyn’s final wishes was to not spend the remainder of her life going to doctors’ offices. With Caring Circle, the Perrine family had support in place to not worry about taking her to appointments anymore. Kristin and Gary said that their only regret was that they were not able to have hospice care sooner.

"We had help figuring things out; we weren't alone," said Kristin. “The difference between struggling on our own and having hospice was huge. Any medical supplies we needed were just a phone call away.”

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