Mary Horngren’s family has been cared for by PAMF doctors for nearly half a century. So when it came time to honor her parents’ lives by making donations from their estate, the surviving Horngren family members believed PAMF was a natural choice.
“My father came to Stanford University on sabbatical in 1966,” recalls Horngren. “We then moved here permanently, and started going to PAMF when we were little kids. My first pediatrician was at PAMF. My parents had their care at PAMF almost exclusively from 1966 until their deaths, Mom in 2010, and Dad in 2011.”
Peter H. Cheng, M.D., a PAMF geriatric medicine physician, was their primary care physician in their later years, says Horngren. “My mother had Alzheimer’s disease; my dad had kidney disease late in life. Dr. Cheng walked us through the journey to their deaths with such grace and compassion and expertise. I’ve never met a physician who was so genuinely caring and pragmatic. He is extraordinary.”
“My father was an accounting professor at Stanford Business School. He was all about investing where you get key results. We don’t want our names on a wall somewhere; we want to make improvements in people’s lives. Serving others is what my parents were all about.”
The Horngren family has made a number of donations to PAMF. An early gift helped support the Mind, Body and Soul: Successful Aging Shared Medical Appointment Program. The first program of its kind in the country, Mind, Body and Soul brings seniors together to learn about the aging brain, get assessed for their risk of falling, depression and other issues, and talk about the challenges of getting older.
The family’s most recent donation enabled PAMF to hire a geriatric social worker who will work at the new Guzik Family Center for Geriatrics and Palliative Care. The social worker will be a major part of PAMF’s multidisciplinary geriatric and palliative care programs, helping patients 65 and older to navigate many issues as they age in their own homes, and providing access to the psychosocial services they need.
“I always feel like my parents are sitting on my shoulders, guiding me on donation decisions,” says Horngren. “To be a part of supporting the new social worker is the most impactful thing we can provide for the patients and the staff. I know my mother would have voted for it in a heartbeat. It’s a complicated thing, living and dying. PAMF’s support allowed our parents to do both well."