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H.O.W. To Help People In Hospice

Updated on January 9, 2013

Sometimes when people are diagnosed with an illness that can no longer be treated and they are nearing death, they are placed not in a Nursing Home, but in a place called Hospice. Hospice is a place where these people can stay because their families can no longer take care of them at home. Usually the Nurses and the Nursing Assistants are very busy, so it is easy for the men and women who are dying feel alone.

However, there are many ways of H.O.W you can help them. Since I am not working at this point in time, I have decided to volunteer at a Hospice Center that is near my home. This hub will explain the many the ways of H.O.W. a volunteer can help people who are nearing death.

There are many things a volunteer can do to help someone in a Hospice Care Center. Some of them seem very small to us, but they are not small at all to the men and women who are close to dying.

You can ask for pictures and create a frame and hang those pictures up on a persons wall. That way, they can look at those pictures, and remember things that have happened in their lives. Funny things, things they have loved, even dogs! This is simple, but it brings back memories, memories are very important.

Listen. Listening to a person who is dying is very important, even if they are telling you the same story over and over again. That story is important to them. Remember, they are not going to be on this earth for a long time.

Read the newspaper, or a magazine. A magazine has a lot of colorful pictures they can look at and for some reason most of them like the colorful magazines. Please remember to read the magazine a little bit loud, it is a bit hard for them to hear.

If a holiday is coming up, bring things related to that holiday. Then listen to what his or her memories about that holiday are, sometimes the stories are old ones. Sometimes happy, sometimes sad, but still listen anyway.

Brush, comb, or style a person's hair. Sometimes you can even put make-up on a lady. Let her look in a mirror and tell her she is beautiful. That has been found to be very good emotionally.

Some people want you to read the bible to them. Please do this, even if you do not believe in God. They do, and they want to listen to the bible. Remember, you are doing this for them.

If it is a warm day, you can take them outside and take them for a "wheelchair walk" You can sit on the patio together and look at the sky. Many of them love the sky, and it may be the last time they will see the sky

Make a list of his or her favorite movies, who starred in them, and ask what the movies were about. They can usually remember the movies they saw a long time ago. And you can learn about movies you have never seen.

Make a "Joy Box" Decorate a box, with pretty much anything you can find, and fill it with your friends favorite items.

Sing karaoke. Well at least try, the Hospice Center I am going to volunteer at has a karaoke night. The songs are not the modern ones, but the older ones that were popular a while ago. Sometimes when you sing the old songs people with dementia are able to sing with you, even if they cannot remember their own names.

Please try to make their time on earth, even if it is short, happy. The song below is one of the songs we are singing on Karaoke Night. It is named "Tan Shoes and Pink Shoelaces" Please enjoy!


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    • Lipnancy profile image

      Nancy Yager 4 years ago from Hamburg, New York

      Unfortunately, most people do not understand the role of Hospice is just to make the person comfortable in the final months. I am glad that you enjoy your Hospice volunteer work.

    • Michele Travis profile image

      Michele Travis 4 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

      Thank you so much pstraubie48

      God bless you

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 4 years ago from sunny Florida

      Michele, these are lovely ways to help someone whose time on the planet grows short. Just the care are there to offer a hand, a word, to read, to help out in some ways helps them refocus and get the most out of whatever time they have.

      Thanks for sharing this....Sending Angels to you this day 12 of the new year. :) ps

    • Michele Travis profile image

      Michele Travis 4 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

      teacherjoe thank you so much for your blessing. That means so much to me.

    • Michele Travis profile image

      Michele Travis 4 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

      Hi Nell, it is going to be fun, and I am going to do my best. Even if people just want me to listen. But, they have birthday parties every Monday. And the Karaoke Party!

    • Michele Travis profile image

      Michele Travis 4 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

      Mhatter99 I think the masonic homes are only for people or a family member who are a mason. But, that is interesting. I would like to check that out. I hope they take care of everyone. I can still join Eastern Star, my father was in the Masonic Lodge before he died. I was a Rainbow Girl.

      But, I sort of got bored left it. Good idea, I will check it out. But, I will make sure I wear my mother's Eastern Star ring.

    • Michele Travis profile image

      Michele Travis 4 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

      tirelesstraveler, I appreciate your comment.

    • Michele Travis profile image

      Michele Travis 4 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

      Thank you Mh. I am going to start on Monday.

    • teacherjoe52 profile image

      teacherjoe52 4 years ago

      Good morning Michele.

      Very good article. In Canada children are required to do this in high school. It is good for both them and the patients.

      I used to love to sit and listen to them talk about the old days when I volunteered and to play chess or cards with them. Simple acts of kindness goes a long way there.

      May Jesus use you to be a blessing to them and may you be blessed by them with lots of love.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

      Hi, you are amazing, what a great thing to do! good luck, and I can tell you its an amazing feeling helping them, I used to go and help at an old folks home because my mum and dad were in there, they had strokes and couldn't walk, well my mum, and my dad had parkinsons, they hated the idea of going in there, but after a while they loved it, and because I was always there I used to help out with the fun nights, christmas parties and so on, it was brilliant! voted up and shared, nell

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 4 years ago from California

      Excellent ideas for respecting people who are frail. Thank you.

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for this. Look into the masonic homes. They will knockyour socks off.

    • Michele Travis profile image

      Michele Travis 4 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

      Hi my_girl_sara , unfortunately not in this one. At least that is what they explained to me.

      And yes, God bless those nurses.

    • my_girl_sara profile image

      Cynthia Lyerly 4 years ago from Georgia

      Nice blog. I recently found out that hospice is actually another term for long-term, sometimes in-home nursing and not necessarily meant solely for those who are dying. God bless those nurses!

    • Michele Travis profile image

      Michele Travis 4 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

      Thank you bill, I am starting next week, only two days a week. But, when you gave me the idea of helping someone, by just reaching out and I saw a request on Craig's list asking for Volunteers at Hospice. Well, wasn't that interesting? H.O.W is really working, only if sometimes it is for a few older people, it is really working! You and Mark started something very good!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      What a beautiful message, Michele. Bless you for writing this and for giving dignity to those who have few days remaining. Sharing of course!