Bloomington-Normal has a gap in services to the dying. It has no residential hospice facility where people can receive 24-hour care at the end of life. Kevin Moore wants to change that.
Moore is the son of the late Benjamin Moore, the longtime psychologist for The Baby Fold and one of the founders of the Hammitt School for special needs students, the Bloomington-Normal Psychology Association and the Center for Human Services. The elder Moore died of lung cancer last October at the age of 77.
His son, also a psychologist, said he became aware of the gap in services when he was looking into options for end-of-life care for his father, a widower living alone.
“I live out of state and my brother lives out of state, so it was, what do we do?” Moore said on GLT’s Sound Ideas.
Moore brought his father to live with his family outside of Philadelphia. “But the fact that our house has stairs made it difficult for him,” he said. The elder Moore also missed his friends and colleagues in Bloomington-Normal.
“He made a choice after about five weeks to move back permanently to Bloomington and that he wanted die in his home,” Moore said.
As the cancer progressed, Moore said it became increasingly evident that his father needed hospice care.
The family was able to hire private home health aides to remain with his father. Moore said he began to wonder what happens to people who can’t afford private home care and don’t have relatives to look after them.
“(Home) hospice itself as covered through Medicare is a limited service of a couple of times a week. It’s designed to guide the family, but not actually do the work, the day-to-day work of assisting the dying person,” Moore said.
“In Bloomington, there isn’t another option. There isn’t a local residential hospice. The closest residential hospice is in Peoria,” Moore added.
In the months following his father’s death, Moore and his brother Todd created the Benjamin and Mary Evelyn Foundation in honor of their parents, with the goal of establishing a residential hospice center in the Twin Cities.
“It seemed to my brother and me that we wanted to give the opportunity to others that our father had, to help them have a good death also,” Moore said.
The nonprofit foundation has already received "several hundred thousand" dollars in pledges from donors wanting to support its goal, Moore said.
He said he and his brother are seeking a potential venue for the facility among existing locations.
“We are trying to pin down the right physical place, one that is on one level, that doesn’t have stairs, where the hallways are big enough, and where it’s quiet and beautiful.”
The newly-formed nonprofit foundation doesn’t yet have a website, but Moore said people willing to pledge donations can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“But really the thing I would love to see is to have conversation (about this issue) as a community, for Bloomington-Normal to think in a civic-minded way of what we can do for other people. How can we create things that will help other people in need?"
Moore said even though he was raised in Bloomington, he had no idea what services were available when his father needed end-of-life care. He said he suspects many others don’t take the time to become informed.
Anyone with aging parents – indeed everyone – should engage in end of life planning, Moore said.
“Something my mother taught me was to think ahead. It’s important not just to have a will, but if someone so chooses, to have a ‘do not resuscitate’ order, and to think of what is in place not just for ourselves, but for other people as well," he said.
A residential hospice will only become a reality in the Twin Cities, Moore said, if residents take the steps to make that happen.
WGLT depends on financial support from users to bring you stories and interviews like this one. As someone who values experienced, knowledgeable, and award-winning journalists covering meaningful stories in central Illinois, please consider making a contribution.