Visiting Nurse Association

Phillip Rader


Betty and Pip, A Love Story

June 2014 - Phillip Rader, “Pip” to his friends, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 1994. For years his wife Betty tirelessly took care of him herself. Eventually, Pip’s mind began to deteriorate and dementia set in. “There were times when he didn’t remember who I was. After 45 years of marriage, that was so difficult to witness,” said Betty. Despite ongoing medical intervention, Pip – like most patients suffering from Parkinson’s Disease – experienced a steady decline. Determined to care for her husband at home, Betty enlisted the help of a certified nursing assistant who introduced her to the idea of hospice care. Betty, like so many, thought that hospice care was only for terminally ill cancer patients. What she learned was that hospice supports all terminally ill patients with a prognosis of six months of life. “I was annoyed with myself that I had such difficulty taking care of Pip,” admits Betty. “His disease was very demanding, both physically and emotionally. I was confined to the house, but with the hospice team I had someone to share the load with.”

With his disease in its final stages, Pip was transferred to Mahoning Valley Convalescent Home. Although no longer living in his house, hospice caregivers continued to see Pip several times a week. “They checked on him, they checked on me, they were always concerned about our care. I couldn’t have felt more blessed to be able to spend the last moments with Pip without the worry of caring for his physical needs,” says Betty. Nineteen days after being admitted to the nursing home, Pip peacefully succumbed to his disease.


St. Luke’s Hospice has been providing compassionate end-of-life care, bereavement care and counseling for patients and their families since 1986.