Palliative Care for People at All Ages: Barry and Lisa’s Story

After 14 years, Barry and Lisa were as in love with each other as in the early days of their courtship. “When I saw and heard Lisa for the first time—at a museum exhibit—I knew she was the one for me,” says Barry. “She was warm, beautiful, and open-hearted. I’d been waiting for someone like her for my entire life. She was my beacon of light.”


So when Lisa, 50, was diagnosed with uterine cancer this past March, the blow for Barry was as unbearable as the pain for Lisa. Scrambling for services to help them, Barry reached out to the Palliative and End of Life Care program at JFCS’ Seniors At Home. “I knew about JFCS’ excellent reputation, and I’d had a good experience there many years before, when I’d seen a counselor at the agency,” Barry says.

When Barry poured his heart out to the palliative care team, there was no delay in receiving assistance. “They were very responsive; they were here within two days,” he says.

The home care aide assigned to Lisa had a wonderfully soothing touch, and the emotional support that Barry received sustained him through the most difficult of times. “They told me that I was doing everything I could to help Lisa,” says Barry. “Hearing that from a team of professionals was absolutely validating. I needed someone to lift my spirits, and they were there.”

Even after Lisa’s death, this past October, the palliative care team remains a part of Barry’s life, continuing to check in with him to make sure he is okay. “I so appreciate that one-on-one contact,” he says. “With so many agencies, you have to go through bureaucracies and red tape. Here, the help is immediate.”