The Hospice Society of Camrose and District, which has clients and volunteers from the Bashaw area, is celebrating National Hospice and Palliative Care Week May 2 to 8 by highlighting some of their programs.
Grief and Bereavement Navigator
Sometimes you just need a safe space to talk. Our Grief and Bereavement Navigator, Lori-Ann Huot, provides grief support for those in need. Huot, a trained grief counsellor, helps those who are stressed, overwhelmed, disconnected, lonely and grieving.
“This is heart’s work. My heart and soul is in this work,” said Huot.
Everyone grieves in a different way and everyone’s grief is real. If you, or anyone you know is struggling, feel free to contact our office at 780-608-0636 to book an appointment with Lori-Ann.
Nav-CARE stands for Navigating, Connecting, Accessing, Resourcing and Engaging. But really it means helping someone.
For three years Kristy Wells and Trudy Lamoriss have spent time visiting with each other, chatting on the phone, going outside for a visit or just hanging out.
“I connected with Trudy. She is a friend now,” said Kristy, a hospice volunteer.
The goal of the program is to improve the quality of life of those with advanced chronic illness by relieving loneliness, isolation and anxiety, by providing someone to be a sounding board.
For Trudy, whose disability makes it difficult to get outside, Kristy’s visits have been a bright spot in the week.
“When I see Kristy it fills up my day,” said Trudy, who gets help with paperwork, shopping and sometimes laundry from Kristy.
Our volunteers can help an individual by buying groceries, playing scrabble, going out for walks, helping connect with local support programs, or whatever is needed.
Staying connected during COVID-19 is one of the goals of the Hospice iPad program. The 24 hospice iPads have been loaned to people for art therapy, reading, listening to music, connecting with family and friends on Facebook or Zoom, or joining in an exercise class.
Volunteer Margo McPhail said placing the iPads with isolated, or grieving people, has been a lifeline during COVID-19.
“It opens up a whole world to them,” said McPhail. “I think it’s extra important. In times like this it is so important for their mental and physical health.”
McPhail and volunteers set up the computers and offer technical support to help get seniors and others become comfortable using the iPad.
Call our office at 780-608-0636 for more details, or if you want to borrow an iPad.
Grief support groups
Our eight-week grief support group gives those who are grieving the tools and skills they need to help move through their grief. Volunteer grief program facilitator, Mary Ann Pastuck, said the group is for anyone dealing with the loss of a loved one: either a spouse, child or parent.
“These people are living through the death of a loved one. They need some help moving through the grief process.”
Pastuck said the process of talking among the group helps the participants realize they are not alone. Talking through their feelings is a pathway through their grief.
If someone you know would benefit from our grief support group, or any of our programs contact our office at 780-608-0636.
Grief Support Walking groups
Rosie Llewellyn-Thomas joined our Grief Walking group almost four years ago when her husband died. The simple act of walking and talking in a safe, confidential group helped her grieve.
“I believe it was a lifeline and a lifesaver for me. It is a supportive, safe, soft, joyful place to land with no expectations.”
Volunteer walking leader, Nicole Luft, said the combination of exercise, laughter, coffee and conversation allows some people to express their feelings of grief. The group often walks around Camrose’s Mirror Lake, or on the indoor walking track, before stopping for coffee and conversation.
Check out all our programs of the hospice, including more information on the walking group on our website, or by calling the office.
Men’s Cooking Circle
When Rod Krips’ wife died, he was grief stricken. To help work through his grief, Rod joined our seven-week Men’s Cooking Circle. Each week the group of men made a meal with skills learned in class, but they also shared their grief story.
“We sat in a group and chatted about experiencing bereavement and sorrow. Everything was said in confidence and we were able to dig deep into our feelings.”
“It was conversation, camaraderie and cooking skills.”
The group toured grocery stores with a dietician to learn about food and get tips on making meals and shopping.
As well as joining the men’s cooking circle, Krips talked to our bereavement counsellor, checked out books from our lending library and was connected with a grief companion.
“I wouldn’t have been able to function without the help of the hospice.”
Check out our services to see what might be right for you.
Celebrating our volunteers
Volunteer coordinator, Joy LeBlanc, has a list of more than 100 volunteers and she loves them all. Depending on the COVID-19 rules, the volunteers can sit by the side of a dying person, offer comfort to someone who has lost a loved one, or offer friendship to the lonely.
What makes a great volunteer is the ability to listen, said LeBlanc.
“We want them to be present to the other person. A good volunteer is comfortable with themselves and comfortable bearing witness to another’s pain.”
While volunteers can choose how they want to help, they all receive training to deal with loneliness, isolation, palliative care and how to spend time with someone who is grieving.
In 2020, our volunteers donated more than 3,000 hours of their time and have connected with more than 3,300 people through our programs in schools, hospitals and homes.
If you want to know how to volunteer, have a look at our opportunities on our website at www.camrosehospice.org, or contact Joy at 587-322-9269. If you can’t volunteer, but would like to help financially, click our link to make a donation.