Your Healthy Community: You always have family

By Katie Sciba
Aug. 2, 2013 at 3:02 a.m.

My family is embarking on a journey this week. Our car is packed full of camping gear, pillows, children and food. We are on our way to the mountains for a week of adventure.

It will be a week of intense family time with either very tight quarters or wide-open forest and wilderness.

We might still like each other at the end of it, but we probably won't want to do a group hug or anything. Maybe we will after we get a bath.

What does family mean to you? It's easy to talk about family, but it's not always easy to be in one. Family can be stressful. Families have conflict, arguments and hard decisions to make.

Our home health company's tag line is that we treat our patients like family. None of us are perfect, but I have seen our staff treat our patients like family with my own eyeballs. Because of this, I decided to ask my co-workers what family means to them. Here are a few thoughts from our AARN staff:

Family is my purpose for living: Jessica Cagle, RN

Family is nonrefundable, nontransferable and non-interchangeable. It's priceless: Meg Pallanez, PTA

Family is love. Family is comfort. Family is support: Rita Williams, director of Community Relations

Family is who I share my life and love with: Courtney Meyer, registered nurse

Family is a friendship forced upon you by circumstance but one you quickly realize you would not choose to live without: Michelle Jackson, director of nursing

It can be hard to be in a family, but we need our families. Last October, my mother passed away. I cannot imagine coping with this without my family.

My brothers and sisters and I surrounded Mom and gathered together to walk through very difficult decisions of stopping cancer treatments, a last blood transfusion, and the transition from home health to hospice.

We didn't all agree on everything, but we did agree that we wanted to support my mom and care for her in the best way possible.

And in the most intense moments at the inpatient hospice facility when even then, Mom was still trying to manage all of our needs, it was imperative that we remembered what family means to us.

As folks in your family age or you find yourself dealing with illness or even end of life decisions, remember what family means to you. Most of these situations involve loss of independence for someone and transition of some type involving the whole family.

In high stress times, it's easy to forget the important ways we value our families. But you can do it. There will be hard decisions to make. You'll need a lot of patience. You're going to want good information, and if we can help you we will.

Make sure you figure out what you need the most. Be honest and clear and kind in communication. Take responsibility for your choices. Ask for help if you need it, and more than anything, remember what family is.

Katie Sciba is a writer, a licensed social worker, a pastor's wife and a mother from Victoria. She works for AARN Health Services and blogs online at Always Simply Begin.



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