In Dr. Tessa Haspil-Corgan’s view, the last years of her mother and grandmother’s lives were far different than she expected. Having grown up with Haitian traditions of keeping elders close and caring for them at home, the emergency medicine physician first watched her grandmother care for her own mother, who was diagnosed with cancer at 55. But then, after her mother’s death, Haspil-Corgan stepped in to care for her grandmother, who showed signs of Alzheimer’s disease.

The doctor and her family decided a nursing home was the safest place for her grandmother. Such are the realities of the aging process and caregiving methods that families in the U.S. have available. 

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J.O. Haselhoef is the author of “Give & Take: Doing Our Damnedest NOT to be Another Charity in Haiti.” She co-founded "Yonn Ede Lot" (One Helping Another), a nonprofit that partnered with volunteer groups in La Montagne ("Lamontay"), Haiti from 2007-2013. She writes and lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.