At just 49 years old, Daniel “Dan” Riley was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Although the diagnosis forced Dan to leave his job in the interior design field, Dan functioned well at home. He even volunteered to help others coping with serious illness, often visiting nursing homes or driving other patients to medical appointments. “Dan has always been upbeat and cheerful,” said his wife Janet. “He’s a jokester, with a positive attitude about everything. However, a few years after the initial diagnosis, the tumor returned, and he was told that nothing more could be done.”
Just after New Years’, as Dan became increasingly weak and unsteady, he knew it was time to transition to High Pointe House, the hospice and palliative care residence of Merrimack Valley Hospice. At less than five feet tall and quite petite, Janet couldn’t lift or support his six-foot frame, and both Janet and Dan could be injured if he fell. And, Dan was determined to keep his dignity until the end.
Throughout his illness, Dan and Janet, a deeply spiritual couple, conversed openly and honestly about end of life, and they were resolute in their desire to spend their last days together. So, when Dan was admitted to High Pointe House, Janet moved right in with him. Throughout his stay at the House, Janet cherished the time they shared together. “Every moment here has been a gift,” said Janet. “I’m so thankful for Dan’s wonderful care and for the kindness and support of the entire staff.”