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I understand what you're going through. However, my Mom was only 49 when she died from cancer. She had several hospital stays over the last two years of her life and died at my sister's house. I wish that we had known about hospices because my sister had to move out of that house within a year because of the terrible memories.

Mom was in and out of a coma during her last hospital stay and often didn't know when we were there. But we stayed there - sometimes all day. It was also in uptown Manhattan and since we were young and pretty broke - we usually ate at the hospital cafeteria. Or we brought in fast food - it was cheaper than eating at a restaurant.

On to the elderly. Dad is now 80 and is starting to deteriorate rather rapidly after being diagnosed with emphysema two years ago. He still lives by himself because I don't have room for him. My nephews are wonderful and clean, maintain his house, shop and do all sorts of stuff. Dad still gets around (slowly) and is very independent. He will not allow us to hire a cleaning service or a health aide. But he is doing less and less.

I talk to him on the phone every other day and worry on the days that I don't talk to him. He won't hear of going into a "retirement" village or managed care facility or anything like that. I know that in many ways, it is his decision to make but I wonder how guilty I will feel when he does leave this earth. He doesn't have many friends left and those that he does have are fortunate enough to have spouses.

What else can I do?

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