Why did you choose hospice care as a volunteer experience?
Before I retired seven years ago, it seemed that I was placed in situations where I interacted with families of persons who were dying or had died. This occurred through work with adult protective services, singing for funerals in my church and helping to provide respite to a coworker who was in hospice care at home. I also attended a workshop with “threshold “singers who went into facilities that provided hospice in the southern area of Maine. You could say I was being drawn closer to AHOC when I heard of the volunteer training.
How long have you volunteered at AHOC?
I had just completed training and had volunteered at AHOC perhaps 5 or 6 times when the Covid pandemic hit, and I was one of the “elderly” avoiding all social contacts. I was offered the opportunity to do bereavement calls in August of 2021 and I’ve remained with that service to AHOC families since.
How does your work help the patients, families, and your community?
Many family members that I contact truly enjoy the opportunity to talk about their loved one and share joyful memories. Some have commented that they don’t really have anyone that will listen to all the stories they want to tell. It is a time they can share their faith journey as well as their grief journey. It is a moment they can reach out for assistance or guidance that the AHOC bereavement coordinator can facilitate with AHOC staff. The bereavement calls help the family know that others care about them and recognize the grief they are experiencing. They also give family members the opportunity to thank all the hospice personnel that supported them either at the AHOC or in their home.
What is special about the Aroostook House of Comfort?
AHOC and the hospice program reaches out to the patients as well as the family members to comfort them mentally, physically, and spiritually. It does not end with the death of the patient.
What is most rewarding?
It is most rewarding when I actually connect with a spouse, child, sibling or friend and they reminisce about the difficult and joyful memories they have. It is always a big plus when they start to tell me about the comfort and support, they and their loved one experienced either at the AHOC or in their own home. I do not personally know all the staff they are so appreciative of, but I’m certainly rewarded by any association that I might have with them.
If you have questions about becoming a hospice volunteer or need more information, click to learn more.