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Hospice seeks volunteers to help with care
August 9, 2017

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Hope Hospice's Lehigh Acres location is currently looking for volunteers to help care for individuals who are facing life-changing illnesses.

Hospice, a program of Hope Healthcare, provides specialized care for people with complex needs.

"The individuals and families in our care need so much support during this difficult phase of life," Samira Beckwith, president and chief executive officer, said. "Hope welcomes as many volunteers as possible."

Volunteers play an important role by helping the organization fulfill the needs of the individuals, who require help in areas including personal hygiene and cooking meals, as well as moral support.

"At Hope, we're dedicated to making life's final chapter as comfortable, peaceful and dignified as possible," she said.

Hospice's team anticipates the needs of the individuals in its care, as well as the needs of their loved ones. Volunteers give the individuals help emotionally and spiritually, along with everyday tasks.

"Volunteers are the heart of Hope because they provide extra helping hands and loving care," Beckwith said. "Sometimes a volunteer can be there to simply sit by the bedside and chat or to be a quiet presence."

The volunteers at Hospice provide services like providing assistance at meal times, respite for tired caregivers, transportation and running errands for families. Other volunteers help by sharing a special talent of theirs, like sewing, administrative skills, flower arranging, singing or playing an instrument.

For more than six years now, Shelly Goldberg has been a volunteer for Hospice. She explained that she learned about Hospice and its service during a difficult time in her and her late husband's life.

"My husband was very sick for nine years and had to leave New York due to the cold," Goldberg said.

"It was very scary at first, but all of the doctors, massage therapists, social workers, chaplain, nurses and aids were amazing," she said. "My husband got to pass away peacefully in their home. I felt that I had to pay them back for what they did for us."

Prior to volunteering, Goldberg participated in a bereavement support group for two years.

She explained that as a volunteer, she visits patients in their home or at Hospice. She also assists the chaplain during memorials that are held at Hospice.

"When someone passes away, they can have a memorial in Hope's chapel," Goldberg said. "I'm one of the assistants. I help spouses and their children through the process and talk to them about our bereavement group."

"Often, pets are left behind as well," she said. "We help find homes for orphaned animals and buy dog and cat food for patients in our care."

She spoke of the individuals that she helps care for.

"Sometimes during times of illness, we sometimes forget that these patients had a life," Goldberg said. "They love to talk about their kids and things that made them happy."

"One patient said how much he loved to dance, but was now bedridden. He asked me to dance and put his arms in a dance position," she said. "It was so amazing to feel that moment of happiness."

Those interested in becoming a volunteer must be 14 years or older with a caring heart and time to share. The hours vary and can be planned to meet the schedules of the volunteer and individual.

For more information about volunteering for Hospice, call 239-482-4673 or visit: www.hopehcs.org/Volunteer to complete the application online.

A not-for-profit, Hope Hospice has served Southwest Florida for more than 30 years. It works to improve the quality of life for people experiencing serious illness by offering programs that include home health care, counseling, private duty nursing, pet care and Hope Connections.

The Lehigh facility is at 1201 Wings Way.

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