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A family affair: Generations supported by Stillwater

We like to think of ourselves as a family at Stillwater Hospice, and often, once one family member experiences our unique brand of compassionate care services, they often refer other family members when they need supportive care. That was the case for the Mount-Mespell families. In the past several years, they’ve had four family members cared for by our organization.

The Mount family grew up in the shadow of St. Henry’s Catholic Church on the southern edge of Fort Wayne, with 10 kids racing around their tree-filled yards. Mom Joan Mount watched over their growing brood, while Gene Sr. worked in the aerospace industry.

“We had so much laughter and fun,” daughter Maureen Mespell said.

In early 2012, Joan’s dementia worsened, and the family called in our agency, then known as Visiting Nurse.

Maureen’s husband’s family had previously experienced Visiting Nurse’s services for her brother-in-law and mother-in-law, and the Mespells were pleased with the care their loved ones received. Joan passed in January of 2012, after being on service for a time. A few years later, patriarch Gene began experiencing multiple medical issues, and the Mounts turned once again to Stillwater for help.

Jim Mount provided the bulk of care for their dad, and he said the education that our nurses and other caregivers provided was invaluable.

“They taught me a lot,” Jim added. “They taught me how to care for a catheter. They taught me to how to clean my dad.”

That role reversal, when the child becomes the caregiver, is something many hospice families experience. Jim said the support and guidance provided by the agency made caring for his dad an honor.

“As Dad declined, there was a lot of support,” Jim said. “I had a lot of questions. Having them here and just being supported” was invaluable.

Last fall, the family turned again to Stillwater Hospice when sister Kathy was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Her passing is still raw, but once again, the support the family received from Stillwater made all the difference.

Daughter Mary said the Stillwater staff are “angels of mercy – absolutely the best!”

“They got me through it,” said Jim. “They got Dad through it. They gave me a lot of confidence.”