Volunteerism provides invaluable support to our communities.
Volunteers do everything from making sure school children cross roads safely to delivering Meals-on-Wheels to shut-ins to providing search and rescue services.
Some volunteers also choose to journey with those who are dying.
There are many reasons these dedicated volunteers choose this particular and challenging area of service. Here is what they have to say about why they volunteer in palliative care:
JoanI volunteer “because I know how overwhelming it can be to be facing death of a loved one and how important it can be to have somebody around with a calm presence to just know they are there whether you need to talk, get another viewpoint or just sit quietly with your own thoughts.”
HeatherI am a Hospice Volunteer because I believe in quality end of life care and support. Hospice Volunteers are an integral part of this quality care. It is rewarding for me to know that those who are dying are not alone when they want to be with someone.
SabineBeing there in the last stage of life with someone is an absolute honor. It is one of the most real moments in life. Being able to be there for them and their family in that great time of need is a special gift given to us when we volunteer.
TomI think there is no better way to do good things for others than to be a caring presence to a person who is living his or her last days. It is a privilege to do so. It is also very satisfying, when the opportunity presents itself, to give support and comfort to the person’s loved ones.
BrendaVolunteering for Hospice gives me a way to be involved with people, sometimes in a practical way, sometimes just being there.
As a community we celebrate life when a child is born, and we support that new little person as they grow.
Being present to a person who is moving into their last months, days and hours is just as important and is just as much a celebration or recognition of the importance of their life.
Volunteering to sit with a dying person is not about ‘doing’ things for them. It is being ‘with’ them to alleviate fears, to provide an opportunity for them to talk and reminisce if they wish, or to provide gentle touch and human connection.
It is also an opportunity to let family take a break and to support them in their grief and loss. As the quotes above illustrate, the benefits and rewards flow to both the dying person and to the volunteers.
Would you consider becoming a Volunteer with Hospice? A training weekend is available October 26-28.
Please call the Hospice Office 250-364-6204 for more details.
Gail Potter is a nurse educator at Selkirk College who chairs the hospice board.