Jun 30

Are You Traveling Without A Road Map? Advance Care Planning Essentials

By Judy Peterson

Advance care planning is like planning a road trip to an unfamiliar destination. People approach mapping their route in different ways, but your trip can be made more comfortable by planning ahead. An Advance directive is a map detailing where you want your health care “to go,” in the event you are unable to voice your own wishes.

Do you have a written plan stating what kind of health care treatments you would or would not want if you could not speak for yourself?

Consider this…

Are you traveling_road map

Death comes in its own way, in its own time. None of us can predict when our final day will arrive. Advance directives are not only for the elderly; in fact, anyone 18 years and older should complete an advance directive. By completing an advanced directive, people and their families are able to have tough conversations well before the directive is actually needed.

What is an advance directive?
It is a written statement of your wishes, preferences, goal and values regarding end-of-life health care decisions. It is only used if you are seriously ill and unable to speak for yourself. There are two components to the directive.

  • Naming of a medical (health care) power of attorney
  • Living will

What is a surrogate or health care agent, and who do I choose to take on that role?
A surrogate or health care agent, also referred to as a health care proxy, is a health care advocate for a person if he or she is unable to make decisions for him or herself.

When choosing a surrogate or health care agent you should consider someone who:

  • Knows you well
  • Will remain calm in a crisis
  • Is not afraid to ask questions and advocate for you to your medical team
  • Can reassure and communicate with your loved ones
  • Understands how you would make the decisions if you were not able to

What is a living will?
A living will is a portion of documentation where a person’s explanation his or her wishes for end-of-life care can be incorporated. Living wills can be extensive, or quite simple, and should include an explanation of the individual’s values, wishes, preferences and goals for end-of-life care. There should be a description of what, if any, life-sustaining treatment you would want, including artificial nutrition and hydration (feeding tube), cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), do-not-resuscitate order (DNR), palliative care and hospice care.

When the documentation is complete, what should I do with it?
You must include your signature on all documentation, and your signature must be either notarized or witnessed. In North Dakota, either option is sufficient to legalize the document. The “Five Wishes” document is recognized in many states and does not require notarization, but your signature must be accompanied by two witness signatures.
You should retain the original version of the completed and signed documentation in a safe, accessible location within your home. Copies should be made for each of your health care decision makers and your health care institution (for their electronic medical record). It is not recommended to keep the only version of the document in a safety deposit box at the bank. This information should be readily available for review when the need arises.

If any of the following situations occur, your document should be updated:

  • When there is a divorce
  • When a family-related death has occurred
  • When chronically ill, or there is a change in your health status
  • During every decade of life
  • If you receive a new, life limiting diagnosis

If I have a power of attorney, do I need an advance directive?
Yes, the power of attorney (POA), or conservator, is normally associated with someone who takes care of financial matters for an incapacitated person. The advance directive for health care only covers health care decision making.

What is a POLST?
A physician order for life-sustaining treatment (POLST) is intended to be completed alongside a patient’s physician to guide the actions of emergency medical personnel (e.g., whether or not to perform CPR). It is a medical order that gives patients more control in their end-of-life care. A POLST must be signed by a doctor or other medical professional after having a conversation about end-of-life care with the patient. It is intended for people who have a serious illness—at any age—and usually completed when it is anticipated the patient has a year or less to live.

Currently, a POLST does not exist in the state of North Dakota; however, Honoring Choices North Dakota is currently developing a standardized medical order form that represents and individual’s preferences for end-of-life care. At this time, it is work in progress and will eventually become a North Dakota physician order for life sustaining treatment. Currently, the state of Minnesota has a POLST in use that was developed as part of Honoring Choices Minnesota.

Where do I find information on advanced care planning or an advance directive form?

CaringInfo
Aging with Dignity “Five Wishes” Advance Directive Guide
Honoring Choices Minnesota
National Health Care Decision Day website

Be bold. Have the conversation and document your wishes, you’ll be glad you did. If you have questions, please contact us at (800) 237-4629 or questions@hrrv.org.

Judy Peterson is a clinical education supervisor at Hospice of the Red River Valley.

About Hospice of the Red River Valley
Hospice of the Red River Valley is an independent, not-for-profit hospice serving all, or portions of, 29 counties in North Dakota and Minnesota. Hospice care is intensive comfort care that alleviates pain and suffering, enhancing the quality of life for patients with life-limiting illnesses and their loved ones by addressing their medical, emotional, spiritual and grief needs. For more information, call toll free 800-237-4629, email questions@hrrv.org or visit www.hrrv.org.

Permanent link to this article: http://hospicerrvblog.areavoices.com/2015/06/30/are-you-traveling-without-a-road-map-advanced-care-planning-essentials/

Jun 16

Shear Gratitude: Volunteer Delights Hospice Patients with Haircuts

Rebecca Wood, hair stylist and owner of a West Fargo salon and spa, has found the perfect way to blend her talents as a stylist with her love of volunteering. For the past year, Rebecca has visited the homes of Hospice of the Red River Valley patients to provide refreshing haircuts, and sometimes even a quick style. “Volunteering has always been a passion of mine. This experience has been nothing but positive, and I leave every single visit feeling like a changed person. It has absolutely changed my life—100%,” Rebecca said.

During each visit, Rebecca forms a bond with the hospice patient—and caregiver—while fashioning the perfect haircut for each patient. Because every person is different and the reason for Rebecca’s visit may vary, as well, she always begins by getting to know the patient and establishing rapport. “I start out in front of the patient just talking to them, trying to figure out why I am there to help,” Rebecca shared. “I ask questions like, ‘What is it you’re looking for?’ For some people, they want to feel like themselves again; ‘I used to have my hair like this.’ For other people, it’s more like, ‘This bothers me because my hair is in my eyes.’ Everyone has a little bit different situation. I also always ask, ‘What’s your story? Tell me a little bit about you.’”

Rebecca Wood_quote

Rebecca’s very first patient visit left a lasting impression on her. She says, “I was sold from then on.” At that visit, the hospice patient was so thankful for what some people might take for granted—a simple haircut—without having to worry about how to get to and from a salon. “I remember feeling like I didn’t want to leave. I could just stay there and visit. It was amazing,” Rebecca explained. Before that interaction, Rebecca recalls being a bit nervous, intimidated and thinking what many people think about hospice—that it’s somewhat scary. “I tell people, it’s not a scary thing. It’s not what you would expect; it’s way more positive. I think the biggest misconception of hospice I had was that they are people who are very sad and desperate, in a bad, bad place. And that is not the case at all.”

In Rebecca’s line of work she has many positive experiences with clients, and although those experiences touch her heart, she says they don’t compare to helping someone who is nearing the end of life. “You’re going into a situation where a patient maybe doesn’t feel like him or herself, and you’re able to do something as simple as a haircut and watch them kind of become themselves again. I can’t even articulate how that feels,” Rebecca said with a smile. “An even bigger piece of that is when there is another family member or caregiver involved; it impacts them just as much, if not more, to see their loved one look like him or herself again.”

As Rebecca continues to volunteer with Hospice, she knows she is creating lifelong memories and lessons she can pass along to her two daughters, ages 3 and 7. “I think it’s important that they know I’m not choosing to spend time away from them because I don’t want to be with them, but because I feel like this is important work, and I want to pass that down to them,” Rebecca said. In fact, her oldest daughter came home from school the other day and said, ‘I told my teacher that you volunteer for Hospice, and you give haircuts to people who are really sick. I’m really proud that you’re my mom.’ “To know that she ‘gets it’ and it’s something bigger than us—that makes me feel like it’s just another piece of the puzzle,” Rebecca said. “You can tell your kids, but I believe that actions speak louder than words and to see their mom takes the time to do this, that is important.”

As for the volunteer work, Rebecca says she can remember every single hospice patient in detail. She can recall the moment she walked in the door until she left. “Every single one of them has been impactful. I’ve said many times, if I could volunteer full-time for Hospice and that could be my job, I’d be happy,” she shared. “Volunteering for Hospice has restored my faith in humanity. It has been so rewarding for me, and I’ve met some incredible people and had some unbelievable experiences, and it’s something I don’t ever see myself not doing.”

Upcoming Event

We have an upcoming community event that benefits Hospice of the Red River Valley. We hope to see you there!

Go Hawaiian for Hospice
Thursday, June 25, 2015
11 a.m.-1 p.m.
Choice Financial: 4501 23rd Ave. S., Fargo

Choice Financial invites the community to Go Hawaiian for Hospice! Join us for the 3rd annual luau lunch fundraiser. For a suggested donation of $5, attendees will feast on a pig roast, baked potato, fresh pineapple, Hawaiian Punch and a frozen treat. By making a donation of $25 or more, you will receive a $25 gift certificate for Maxwells (one per person)! To join the Facebook event, click here.

1 ‘Like’ = $1 for Hospice!*
Choice Financial will donate $1 for every new ‘Like’ on both the Choice Financial and the Hospice of the Red River Valley Facebook pages.
Facebook.com/choicefinancial
Facebook.com/hospicerrv
*Runs May 11-June 25. All funds will go directly to Hospice of the Red River Valley.

 

About Hospice of the Red River Valley
Hospice of the Red River Valley is an independent, not-for-profit hospice serving all, or portions of, 29 counties in North Dakota and Minnesota. Hospice care is intensive comfort care that alleviates pain and suffering, enhancing the quality of life for patients with life-limiting illnesses and their loved ones by addressing their medical, emotional, spiritual and grief needs. For more information, call toll free 800-237-4629, email questions@hrrv.org or visit www.hrrv.org.

Permanent link to this article: http://hospicerrvblog.areavoices.com/2015/06/16/shear-gratitude-volunteer-delights-hospice-patients-with-haircuts/

Jun 02

In the Midst of a Life-Changing Event, Hospice Provides Extra Support to Patient

In late January 2015, on an otherwise normal day, Grace faced a life-changing incident: a heart attack. In an instant, Grace’s world turned upside-down, and she and her family were left with many uncertainties. “After the heart attack, things changed. There were many things Mom couldn’t do alone anymore,” Jodi, Grace’s daughter, said. “Losing that independence was hard for her—and us too, seeing her struggling to do some things that were easy for her the week before. The family needed to accept that fact and so did Mom.”Grace_quote

Because the three main arteries of Grace’s heart have 95% or more blockage, Grace’s doctor advised her to maintain minimal day-to-day activity and focus on a calm and peaceful lifestyle moving forward. Without hesitation, both Grace’s heart surgeon and cardiologist suggested it would be best to have hospice be a part of her life after she left the hospital. Initially, Jodi recalls being shocked when her mom’s doctors broached the topic of hospice care. “It took us by surprise, because to all of us, it felt like the end,” she shared. “That was until a Hospice representative talked to us about it, and explained it more thoroughly, and after that we were all comfortable with it. It doesn’t have to be the end. Hospice can be for somebody who has a critical condition and needs extra support and help. It made sense then, and Hospice has been wonderful and very helpful.”

Grace and Jodi

Grace with daughter Jodi

Together, as a family, Grace and her children decided Hospice of the Red River Valley would begin caring for Grace at her home, an assisted living facility in Fargo. “I didn’t know much about Hospice before. But I found out that Hospice really helps you with a lot of things,” Grace said. “When I need something, I just ask. They are very helpful.” From basic tasks like slipping on her socks and assisting her with dressing, to weekly whirlpool baths and checking her vitals, Grace has found peace in her care through Hospice staff, especially her registered nurse (RN) and certified nursing assistant (CNA). “At first, I didn’t think I wanted help with some things because I thought I needed to have some stuff to do, but now I do. I really do appreciate it [Hospice],” Grace said.

Jodi has found comfort in the care her mom receives, as well. “Hospice has taken over the brunt of what the staff at the assisted living facility cannot do. If there are things they can’t do at a specific time, Hospice has always been available to help Mom, which is great,” she explained. She is also pleased with the services Hospice has been able to offer and finds peace of mind in getting a second opinion and comparing notes with Hospice of the Red River Valley Nurse Gayle. “The thoroughness from Gayle is amazing! The time she spends visiting with Mom has been so nice; she’s not just in and out. I don’t even think twice about calling if I have questions.”Grace

“It is a privilege to provide care and support to Grace and her family. Grace has a very positive outlook on life and always has a smile on her face! Her family is very supportive and attentive to her needs,” Gayle said.

“Hospice of the Red River Valley is very caring, supportive and always there when you need them,” Jodi said. Grace echoes her daughter’s sentiments, “I agree with her 100 percent,” Grace said with a smile.

With her needs met, Grace can focus on enjoying life and attending activities and gatherings at the facility, including her personal favorite: bingo. She also delights in regular visits from her family: three other children, in addition to Jodi (Bonnie in Oakes, N.D., and Patty and Johnny in Florida), five grandchildren and five great grandchildren. “It’s so fun to get visitors,” she said.

 

 

Upcoming Events

We have several upcoming community events that benefit Hospice of the Red River Valley. We hope to see you there!

Go Hawaiian for Hospice
Thursday, June 25, 2015
11 a.m.-1 p.m.
Choice Financial: 4501 23rd Ave. S., Fargo

Choice Financial invites the community to Go Hawaiian for Hospice! Join us for the 3rd annual luau lunch fundraiser. For a suggested donation of $5, attendees will feast on a pig roast, baked potato, fresh pineapple, Hawaiian Punch and a frozen treat. By making a donation of $25 or more, you will receive a $25 gift certificate for Maxwells (one per person)! To join the Facebook event, click here.

Roger Maris Celebrity Golf Tournament
Sunday & Monday, June 28-29, 2015
Rose Creek Golf Course, Fargo

The 32nd Annual Roger Maris Celebrity Golf Tournament will take place June 28-29 at Rose Creek Golf Course. To view the 2015 schedule of events or to register to golf, visit rogermarisgolf.com.

About Hospice of the Red River Valley
Hospice of the Red River Valley is an independent, not-for-profit hospice serving all, or portions of, 29 counties in North Dakota and Minnesota. Hospice care is intensive comfort care that alleviates pain and suffering, enhancing the quality of life for patients with life-limiting illnesses and their loved ones by addressing their medical, emotional, spiritual and grief needs. For more information, call toll free 800-237-4629, email questions@hrrv.org or visit www.hrrv.org.

Permanent link to this article: http://hospicerrvblog.areavoices.com/2015/06/02/in-the-midst-of-a-life-changing-event-hospice-provides-extra-support-to-patient/

May 19

A Labor of Love Becomes a Form of Healing

“A hug is a blanket of kindness.” – unknown author

Greeted by a hug and a warm smile, any guest to Joan’s home is considered an instant friend. It’s no surprise Joan is a “hugger.” For the past several months, her fingers have carefully weaved vibrant, colorful strings of yarn this way and that, creating the material embodiment of a hug—crocheted blankets.

It’s a lost art form, a labor of love. And for Joan, crocheting blankets turned into a saving grace. In December 2013, Joan suddenly lost her husband, Ralph. Immersed in her grief, Joan coped as best she could by staying busy. “I told myself, I gotta do something,” Joan recalled.

Joan with quilts

Accustomed to being busy, Joan’s no stranger to hard work. Throughout their nearly 68-year marriage, Joan and Ralph raised three boys and built seven houses on their 15-acre lake property. “I’ve done it all,” Joan explained. “I’ve been on rooftops and raised walls.” And when Ralph’s diabetes took his legs, Joan lovingly cared for him, too—until the very end.

In the early morning hours of Christmas day, with Joan by his side at the lake home he so loved, Ralph peacefully passed away under the care of Hospice of the Red River Valley. Because of Ralph’s rapid decline, Joan was overcome with shock and sorrow. She began channeling her emotions into her handmade creations as a way to handle the uncertainty and loneliness of the days and months ahead.

Years before, after picking up an instructional book, Joan had taught herself how to crochet. And now, her fingers and mind have found solace in the rhythmic motion of crocheting. “Making these lap robes have helped me with my grief so much,” Joan shared.

Joan's quilt stackTo make each blanket, it takes Joan a minimum of 10 hours. And, after hundreds of hours, several patterns and countless bundles of yarn, Joan has meticulously made 14 intricate, brightly colored, crocheted lap blankets. Adding to her homemade gifts, she made a dozen bib aprons, complete with pockets and finished with lace trim. Joan decided to share her creations with Hospice of the Red River Valley by donating all of her handiwork to patients. “I hope these blankets and aprons will brighten someone’s day,” Joan said.

Crocheting blankets is just one of the many ways Joan copes with her grief. Even though Ralph was only cared for by Hospice for a short time, less than two days, Joan has the option to receive grief support care and resources from Hospice of the Red River Valley for 13 months. She attended a grief support group offered by Hospice and visited with a Hospice grief specialist. “It’s very helpful to visit with people with similar experiences,” Joan said of the grief support group.

Joan_apronsAt age 88, Joan shows no signs of slowing down. Joan exercises three times each week at the local community center, tries her luck at the casino on Thursdays and plays games on the Internet each night before bed. “I even found some crochet patterns online,” Joan proudly shared.

Joan has found herself in a “whole new life.” While she still deeply misses Ralph, she’s learned to continue on, one crocheted row at a time.

Upcoming Events

We have several upcoming community events that benefit Hospice of the Red River Valley. We hope to see you there!

Go Hawaiian for Hospice
Thursday, June 25, 2015
11 a.m.-1 p.m.
Choice Financial: 4501 23rd Ave. S., Fargo

Choice Financial invites the community to Go Hawaiian for Hospice! Join us for the 3rd annual luau lunch fundraiser. For a suggested donation of $5, attendees will feast on a pig roast, baked potato, fresh pineapple, Hawaiian Punch and a frozen treat. By making a donation of $25 or more, you will receive a $25 gift certificate for Maxwells (one per person)!

Roger Maris Celebrity Golf Tournament
Sunday & Monday, June 28-29, 2015
Rose Creek Golf Course, Fargo

The 32nd Annual Roger Maris Celebrity Golf Tournament will take place June 28-29 at Rose Creek Golf Course. To view the 2015 schedule of events or to register to golf, visit rogermarisgolf.com.

About Hospice of the Red River Valley
Hospice of the Red River Valley is an independent, not-for-profit hospice serving all, or portions of, 29 counties in North Dakota and Minnesota. Hospice care is intensive comfort care that alleviates pain and suffering, enhancing the quality of life for patients with life-limiting illnesses and their loved ones by addressing their medical, emotional, spiritual and grief needs. For more information, call toll free 800-237-4629, email questions@hrrv.org or visit www.hrrv.org.

Permanent link to this article: http://hospicerrvblog.areavoices.com/2015/05/19/a-labor-of-love-becomes-a-form-of-healing/

May 05

Area Man Flies Tandem with Hospice of the Red River Valley

Stewart ‘Stew’ Bass’ legacy has taken flight. As a WWII veteran pilot, he was personally involved in sinking the Yamoto, a large Japanese aircraft carrier, which marked a turning point in WWII and earned him a Navy Cross—one of the highest honors the Navy bestows. Through sharing his experiences in aviation, Stew touched many lives in the Fargo-Moorhead community—and beyond—while preserving a piece of history.

“He was living history for WWII, telling people what it was really like,” Kathy, Stew’s daughter, said. “There weren’t many of those people left so historians dogged his heels for the last several years to pick his brain for all these things [related to the war]. He was always very glad to do it, but he was very humble about it.” So humble, indeed, that Kathy recalled he never spoke of his involvement with the war when her and her brother were growing up.

It wasn’t until Stew became involved in the Fargo Air Museum that he really started sharing his knowledge about this valuable piece history. “My involvement in the Air Museum was rather natural when it opened up and got started. I said, ‘Gosh, I’ve got to go over there and see what’s going on,’” Stew described. “So I did and I volunteered immediately, and I’ve been there ever since. They called me the lead volunteer.”

“When he started working for the Air Museum, I think he realized how important those stories could be to others,” Kathy explained. “And then he started talking about his part as a pilot, and people got a hold of this information and started calling from the East Coast, the West Coast, almost everywhere. Pretty soon, he was sharing his stories, which were all new to the family.”

Stew BassIn an industry overwhelmed with acronyms and jargon, at the Fargo Air Museum Stew’s sole purpose was to educate. “Nobody seemed to know what a carrier was so that’s what I’ve been doing, telling them what a carrier is, what an air group is, what a group of planes are and so on. I have given speech after speech,” Stew said. “It makes you feel better when you do something worthwhile. And I had a good time, and I enjoyed doing it.”

As big as his passion for aviation, Stew’s positivity, sense of humor and warm smile were always bigger. “He was always a very positive person,” Kathy described. “Even when I was a little girl, he would say, ‘We can do this. It’ll work. Don’t worry, we can fix it. Let’s give it a try.’ No matter what it was—even if you knew it wouldn’t work.”

So when Stew was faced with hospitalization after hospitalization in late 2014, his declining health, which was largely because of heart and kidney failure, slowed him down and dampened an otherwise vibrant person. Stew, along with his family, decided it was time for him to move into an assisted living facility in Fergus Falls, where he could be closer to family. Soon after, Stew began receiving care from Hospice of the Red River Valley.

At 93, Stew was used to his independence—and going, going, going all the time. “This was one of the hardest things for him, to have to be cared for. I think the Hospice nurse really helped him accept his diagnosis. Because up until then, he did not believe he was going down. I credit Courtney [Hospice nurse] for having that heart to heart talk with him. He heard her,” Kathy shared. “I think Hospice made a huge difference. It was the best thing to happen. The visits and encouragement were a really important part. They [Hospice staff] were wonderful to him.”

Stew couldn’t have agreed more. “I have a lot of good to say about Hospice. The biggest thing is that they [Hospice staff] always bring lightness and bring things back into focus—how good things really are,” Stew said. “They always get their job done well. They give that feeling of positivity and that everything’s going to be all right. They’re there to take care of you.”

Stew especially appreciated visits from Hospice of the Red River Valley chaplain, Lauryl, as he neared the end of life. Together, they had deep conversations and discussed questions, such as ‘How do you explain death? What is it? What triggers it? What stops it?’ Stew found comfort in the ease of conversation with Lauryl. “She’s easy to talk to,” he explained. “I think she’s really been able to help with some ‘why’ answers.”

“Stew was a person of deep faith and rich life experiences, but he was also a very humble man. While on hospice, he focused on living and spending time with family; he was so proud of them all,” Lauryl shared. “Stew told me he wasn’t afraid of dying, but in the last couple of weeks the ‘waiting’ was a challenge. One day he told me, ‘Dying isn’t what I expected, you have to have patience, and you have to be very honest and straightforward.’ Stew had those qualities; he was the kind of great man whose joy in life, gratitude for family and friends, and humble, honest faith inspired us all.”

Kathy noticed after Stew’s talks with Lauryl, her dad felt better. And, she felt peace of mind knowing a team of Hospice experts were caring for him. “They did a lot to help with his pain. That’s the biggest deal. I knew he was being well cared for and managed, and his pain was under control; they were on top of it. If he needed anything, it was there. I felt a wonderful peace that he was cared for like we would want him to be cared for,” Kathy said.

Having worked in health care as a nurse herself, Kathy knows the significance of a team effort and the importance of being kept informed. “I felt like we were a part of the team, and I felt like I was in the loop of what was going on and that was wonderful. It took the burden off the family. They were always there if he needed something. If I called the nurse, she’d get right back to me. Hospice is very well-rounded, and I think that made a big difference,” Kathy shared.

Kathy’s frequent visits to Stew’s home in Fergus Falls, along with other family members, brightened his days. He said of his daughter with a smile, “That girl is absolutely something else. There’s no daughter in the world that could be any better that what she is. I just love her.”

As the days went by, Stew knew that any day he was surrounded by loved ones or Hospice of the Red River Valley, he was going to be all right. “Hospice has been so good, and I feel like they’re all specialists. When they leave, I feel like, by golly, I can make it another day. I think that’s one of the best things about Hospice, you have the feeling around you that they have a certain job of elevating you, and they really have you in mind and they’re trying their very best.”

Stew passed away peacefully, in his home, on March 23, 2015. It was Hospice of the Red River Valley’s honor to care for Stew—a true hero to so many.

About Hospice of the Red River Valley
Hospice of the Red River Valley is an independent, not-for-profit hospice serving all, or portions of, 29 counties in North Dakota and Minnesota. Hospice care is intensive comfort care that alleviates pain and suffering, enhancing the quality of life for patients with life-limiting illnesses and their loved ones by addressing their medical, emotional, spiritual and grief needs. For more information, call toll free 800-237-4629, email questions@hrrv.org or visit www.hrrv.org.

Permanent link to this article: http://hospicerrvblog.areavoices.com/2015/05/05/area-man-flies-tandem-with-hospice-of-the-red-river-valley/

Apr 21

How to Know if You’re a Caregiver: Signs to Recognize in Yourself and Others

Sharon DardisBy Sharon Dardis

If you’re a Scrabble player, perhaps you already know there are 144 possible word combinations contained in the word “caregiver.” Likewise, there are probably as many situations in which someone might be involved in a setting that would consider them a “caregiver.” How do you know if you’re one of them?

The Accidental Caregiver
My mother could have been labeled an “accidental caregiver.” She married my jitter-bugging, music-loving father in 1942, neither one of them knowing what the future held for them in terms of health challenges. My supposedly “hale and hearty” father, in his early 20s, had tried to enlist in the Army before he and mother married, but he was classified as 4-F (indicating he was medically unfit for service) because of a heart murmur. The story goes that he took the Army’s form stamped “4-F” at the induction center and put it on “the bottom of the paper piles” and tried going through the enlistment line again. They rejected him and sent him home. He was heartbroken. He had sold all his worldly belongings, even his guitar, thinking he was “off to the war!” He and my mother married shortly after, and seeking work, they took the Northern Pacific train, west to Seattle. My sister and I were born within the next six years. Only a couple years later, dad started having mini-strokes, associated with the untreated rheumatic fever he had as a kid. His mitral value, which lies between the left atrium and the left ventricle, had narrowed, his circulation was compromised and he was, for his remaining life, chronically and seriously ill. Slowly but surely, throughout the course of my childhood, my dad’s health deteriorated. My mother’s life as a caregiver, without fanfare or acknowledgement, had officially begun.

Continuous Caretaking
The term “caregiver” wasn’t officially used until around 1966. Before then, it was called “caretaking,” or as in our family’s case, was not even labeled or discussed. Mom worked full-time. Dad worked when he could. Mother took care of him, and somehow, we survived—quite happily, in fact. In 1956, my father traveled to the Twin Cities to become one of the first patients ever at the University of Minnesota Hospital to have major open heart surgery; a mitral heart value repair was done using the new (Think Medtronic!) heart-lung bypass machine. The surgery was a success and my father lived another five years, with a fairly good quality of life. I was 14 when he died.

Through it all, mother was the one who took care of him, my older sister and me. There was no label for what she was doing, nor did she point out specifically what it was she actually did. After my father died, in 1964, my mother, sister and I carried on. At age 42, five years following her widowhood, my mom married again. Her new life was amazing—a miracle—until, 10 years into that marriage, when my strapping, handsome and successful stepfather suddenly developed a rare neurological disease called spasmotic torticollis. And once again, accidentally, my mother assumed the role of caregiver. She never wavered, until the tables turned.

Although my stepfather struggled with his disease, he and my mom carried on with a fairly normal life until my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at age 70. Always an independent and proud woman, she was quite understandably devastated. Yet, she continued to care for my stepfather, taking him to neurological appointments, keeping his medical records and being his advocate. She was a fierce and tireless caregiver.

The Advocate
The Thanksgiving after her diagnosis, they traveled from Kansas to spend the holiday in Minnesota with us. My stepdad was exhausted and frantic, trying to map out the future with my mother, who was increasingly losing her grasp on reality. He and I had several brief opportunities that holiday weekend to talk alone, and in the end, I jotted down ideas on a notepad for him regarding my mom’s care to discuss with their doctor once they got back home. It was all good, knowing at least, that somehow I was helping. The long-distance caregiving, for me, as a daughter, was difficult. It was hard to stay engaged with mom’s care while having little say in the actual decision making. Giving my stepdad advice seemed helpful at the time, until my mom discovered the notes in his shirt pocket while she was doing his laundry after they got back home.

A few days after Thanksgiving, our phone rang late. I was already asleep. I answered the phone groggily and heard my mom’s voice, usually tender and loving with me—never confronting, now shrieking, saying I that had betrayed her trust. It took me a minute to even realize who this caller was. “Mom?” She sounded that foreign to me. “I’m the caregiver, Sharon!” she scolded, repeating this over and over again. “I’ll do the caregiving. I’ll do the caregiving here!” I cried myself to sleep. But mother had made her point.

Turning the Tables
So, who are the caregivers? How do we know when the tables have turned? And why is it important for us to even care? How can it make a difference in our experiences of caring for loved ones? Maybe it’s the importance of knowing the enemy, or identifying the diagnosis. If you can’t name it, you can’t treat it or fight it. Recognizing yourself as a caregiver, and then articulating what you need as a caregiver, is also a big step in the right direction.

In my mother’s case, although she had been diagnosed with dementia, she was remarkably able to continue to convince my stepdad that she was still in control. And in fact, she still did a pretty good job of caring for him. This was not always a good thing but because he was her husband and loved her unconditionally, he allowed her to call many of the shots. Trust me, there were a lot of “crisis management” moments for us as a family in those years. I’ve decided the only thing worse than being a caregiver in a situation like this is not being able to be the primary caregiver. As a daughter without a say in the final care of my mother, I suffered. We all did. And in the end, my mother, a caregiver to the end, had a major stroke and died knowing she’d done the best she could and more. Caregivers do the best they can with what they have to work with, and as is often the case, things don’t always happen as we have planned. Often accidental caregiving and uncertain outcomes ensue.

Am I a Caregiver?
So how do you know if you’re a caregiver? Last November, Comedian Jeff Foxworthy and caregiver/author Peter Rosenberger got together for National Caregivers’ Month and made light of this on a recent AARP website: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJUyfrsJDCY “You know you’re a caregiver if you know your parents social security number but don’t know your own.” Or, “You know you’re a caregiving if you can open a heavy glass door with your butt while pushing a loved one’s wheelchair.” Humor helps. But realistically, if you take a loved one regularly to the doctor, or buy their groceries, or have a sibling with special needs whom you support, advocate for an ill spouse, or engage in long-distance care of a loved one, you are a caregiver. The important thing to recognize is that your caring role is important. What you do matters and to do it well, you need to name it. “I am the caregiver. I’ll do the caregiving here.” Step up. Name it, then care for your loved ones but also remember to care for the caregiver, too. Be able to recognize your own needs. And whether accidental, recognized or one of many or few, God bless caregivers and their loved ones, everywhere!

Sharon Dardis, RN, BSN, is a former Hospice of the Red River Valley employee. Beginning as a volunteer, she later became a hospice staff nurse and bereavement specialist. Sharon developed and facilitated “Kids Grieve, Too,” for Hospice, a support and educational program for young people experiencing the death of a loved one. Moving to the Twin Cities in 1993, she helped develop and coordinate “Kids In Grief” another children’s grief support group in Stillwater, Minn. Now retired, Sharon is a board member of the Minnesota Coalition for Death Education and Support and also edits their quarterly newsletter, “Coalition News.” In 2000, Sharon coauthored and published, “As I Journey On: Meditations for Those Facing Death.” The proud mother of three and grandmother of eight, Sharon spends her time with husband, Stan, in St. Paul, Minn., and Alpine, Wyo.

About Hospice of the Red River Valley
Hospice of the Red River Valley is an independent, not-for-profit hospice serving all, or portions of, 29 counties in North Dakota and Minnesota. Hospice care is intensive comfort care that alleviates pain and suffering, enhancing the quality of life for patients with life-limiting illnesses and their loved ones by addressing their medical, emotional, spiritual and grief needs. For more information, call toll free 800-237-4629, email questions@hrrv.org or visit www.hrrv.org.

Permanent link to this article: http://hospicerrvblog.areavoices.com/2015/04/21/how-to-know-if-youre-a-caregiver-signs-to-recognize-in-yourself-and-others/

Apr 14

Good Deeds and Fellowship: Hospice Volunteer Aims to Make a Difference

Matt MastrudThe year 2014 proved to be a year full of changes and personal transformation for Matt Mastrud, a Hospice of the Red River Valley volunteer. About seven months ago, Matt set two very deliberate goals: get into better shape by starting a Brazilian Jujitsu class and share his time with others by volunteering.

He knew right away he wanted to volunteer with Hospice because his mom received hospice care when she was dying of breast cancer and he remembered being impressed with the care. Giving his time back to hospice seemed like a natural fit.

“I’m trying to do some good stuff in my life,” Matt explained. “I knew if I volunteered my time, and I didn’t have a person who was depending on me that I’d become complacent and find a reason not to do it. But I knew if I had people who were looking forward to seeing me, I would hold true. It’s worked pretty good so far.”

Matt’s hospice volunteer duties range from typical requests like conversing with patients and taking them for wheelchair rides, to more uncommon tasks like building a wheelchair ramp for a patient’s home and folding towels with dementia patients. No matter the task, Hospice of the Red River Valley Volunteer Coordinator Stephanie knows Hospice can count on Matt. “He is always very eager to help patients however he can—even if he doesn’t know all of the skills he might be using upfront. You can tell he has a big heart, and he is very warm and giving,” she said. “His warmth and compassion are very endearing.”

Since Matt started volunteering with Hospice, he has worked with three patients, and he always finds a familiar refrain: a favorite memory is made. One such experience that left an everlasting impression on Matt is when his Hospice volunteer role shifted as his first patient, who suffered from dementia, was nearing the end of his life. “I worked with his family when I came to visit the last couple of times, and they were so open to me,” Matt shared. “They wanted to show me photos of him and tell me about all the accomplishments he had in his life. They wanted me to know what a great man he was. That part was a struggle. I felt I wasn’t worthy for them to tell me all the stuff about him. I felt like I was just lucky enough to share a little glimpse of this person’s life.”

Matt Mastrud_quoteThis volunteer experience and others with Hospice, at times, have brought up unexpected but welcome emotions for Matt. “I feel like I’m more positive now. It’s changed so much of how I look at things and how I interact with people. I’m not worried about so much, because there are bigger things. You have a higher bar for what’s important,” he explained.

Just as those he’s met through Hospice have touched him, Matt, too, has imprinted on the hearts those he’s encountered. “We’ve heard so much positive feedback from the Hospice nurses and social workers, as well as the patients’ families who have met him. He goes above and beyond. He never misses a visit. And he always puts patients before himself,” Stephanie said. “Families have actually called and asked how they can send a thank you to Matt. It just speaks volumes to how important his visits are and how big of an impact he’s made. We’re very thankful for the work he does.”

Even though Matt’s a busy artist and family man with a wife and two kids, a daughter, 9, and son, 14, he’s certain he’ll always find time to volunteer with Hospice. “I’m pretty sure it’s a forever thing,” he shared. “Actually, I’m positive it is.”

Read more volunteer stories here.

April 12-18, 2015, is National Volunteer Week! At Hospice of the Red River Valley, we’re fortunate to have many dedicated volunteers. We celebrate their contributions to the organization and the ways they enrich our patients’ lives. Click here to find more information about our volunteer program and learn how to apply.

About Hospice of the Red River Valley
Hospice of the Red River Valley is an independent, not-for-profit hospice serving all, or portions of, 29 counties in North Dakota and Minnesota. Hospice care is intensive comfort care that alleviates pain and suffering, enhancing the quality of life for patients with life-limiting illnesses and their loved ones by addressing their medical, emotional, spiritual and grief needs. For more information, call toll free 800-237-4629, email questions@hrrv.org or visit www.hrrv.org.

Permanent link to this article: http://hospicerrvblog.areavoices.com/2015/04/14/good-deeds-fellowship-hospice-volunteer-aims-to-make-a-difference/

Mar 24

Angels in Disguise: Husband Recalls Wife’s Experience with Hospice

“We traveled all over together, her and I,” Gerald ‘Toot’ shared about his late wife, Dee. “All you had to say to her is, ‘Dee, how would you like to … ?,’ and she would say ‘yes’ right away. You wouldn’t even have to finish what you were going to ask. She was willing to go any place, any time, anywhere. She was just so sweet.”

Toot and DeeMaking cherished memories together—and with loved ones—was always a priority for the happily married couple of more than 25 years. So when Dee was diagnosed with brain and lung cancer in summer of 2012, which had spread throughout her body, Dee knew immediately she wanted to focus on making the most of the precious time she had left with her beloved husband, family and friends.

The couple discussed options for treatment with Dee’s doctor, including surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. “Dee said no to chemo treatments and surgery,” Toot said. “And that was the smartest thing we ever did. She had a good quality of life right up until her end.” A steadfast faith guided Dee throughout her life, and especially as she neared the end of her life. “She said, ‘Whatever the Lord has dealt for me, I’ll accept,’” Toot recalled. Dee received five radiation treatments to help shrink the brain tumor, and she and Toot decided—together—that Dee would begin hospice care so she could remain at home with her husband.

For four months, Toot cared for his wife with the assistance of Hospice of the Red River Valley staff, including a certified nursing assistant, registered nurse, social worker and chaplain. “Once we signed on with Hospice, it was a Godsend,” Toot said. “Hospice was there when you wanted them. They helped me so much; I could never say enough about how much they helped me. They showed me what I was supposed to do and how I was supposed to do it. It meant a lot to me because it meant I could have Dee at home with me.”

Toot_quoteMeticulous note taking and precise attention to detail helped Toot manage Dee’s daily care routine and provided Hospice staff with insight into daily happenings with Dee. Hospice staff kept the pair well informed, too. “If I had any questions, they answered them, and they even gave me answers to some questions before I asked them. One day I was thinking, there must be some signs of the impending death, and before I got a chance to ask, the nurse came to visit with a little booklet; it was just what I wanted,” Toot explained. “They took care of the medicine and things that we needed right away. One time I called them at 2:30 a.m., and I got someone to come out. Where else do you get that kind of help?”

Being at home, rather than in a hospital, enabled Dee to accomplish many things on her bucket list and create many more moments with her loved ones, including frequent tea parties with her girlfriends, lunch dates, shopping and attending her son’s wedding as the matron of honor. “Dee knew she was going to die, but that didn’t stop her from living. Life gave her lemons, and she made lemonade all the way,” Toot described.

The couple even made a trip to the state’s capitol city to visit Dee’s sister and friends and take a final dip in the Missouri River. “Hospice checked in with us every day when we were in Bismarck just to make sure everything was OK. I thought, wow! I think we had better care at home than what we would’ve had somewhere else, and Hospice made it so that we could stay at home,” Toot said. “They [Hospice staff] treated us with such dignity. They’re saints!”

Another interaction with Hospice staff that stands out in Toot’s mind is a pointed but gentle conversation Dee’s Hospice of the Red River Valley social worker, Cathy, had with him. “They [Hospice staff] also straighten you out if you screw up,” he explained. “Dee wanted to have a lot of get-togethers with friends, and this was at the time when she was starting to get weaker and weaker. I told Dee that I thought we better stop the visits.”

Cathy and Dee

Dee with Cathy, Hospice of the Red River Valley social worker

Dee wanted to continue having her regular gatherings with her friends, and she shared that with Cathy. “Cathy came to our house after that conversation and asked me about it. Cathy said it wasn’t my decision—that it was Dee’s decision. And she should continue having them. Cathy did such a terrific job.”

“As family members we want what’s best for our loved ones and we try to protect them, conserve their energy and do things for them,” Cathy shared. “The reality is that our patients want to ‘live’ what time they have left, and they know their limitations better than we do. The greatest gift we can give them is to help them live.”

Dee passed away peacefully at home on Nov. 7, 2012, surrounded by those who loved her most. And since then, Toot has found a new kind of support through Hospice: one-on-one visits with Bereavement Manager, Wendy, and ongoing grief support groups. “There have been some times when I felt down when I came in for grief support, but boy, when I’ve left, I have felt like a new person! Your facilitators are so great,” Toot said.

“The death of a spouse is known to be one of life’s most stressful events bringing about feelings of loss and loneliness,” Wendy shared. “Toot is a joy to have in support group sessions. He often offers a word of encouragement to new attendees with the constant message of there is no time frame for grief, and everyone grieves in a different way. He has worked hard on his grief journey and openly expresses how losing Dee has changed his life, while also embracing his treasured memories of her.”

“Dee always said, ‘I am so lucky to have these angels on Earth taking care of me,’” Toot shared. “She was talking about the Hospice staff. She loved the people at Hospice dearly. You can’t put Hospice into one word or sentence. They will help you to the end, and they helped me as much as my wife.”

Watch Toot discuss Hospice of the Red River Valley’s care of his wife, Dee.

Upcoming Events
Hospice of the Red River Valley is pleased to offer FREE community grief classes and workshop for adults and children this spring. Click for a complete listing of the spring grief classes.

Journeying Through Grief is a class designed for those who are recently bereaved. It is intended for adults 18 years and older who have experienced the recent loss of a loved one. The sessions will help you better understand the grief process, explore methods of self-care and embrace and carry memories with you as you move forward. Classes will be held at several locations, including Fargo, LaMoure, Lisbon and Valley City, N.D.

Youth Journeys is a day-long program for youth, ages 6 to 18, who have lost a loved one. Parents/guardians are also required to attend a portion of the day program. The day is broken down in sections, allowing youth a chance to explore how the death of their loved one has affected their lives, feelings they have, self-care and embracing memories. The day ends with a service of remembrance. Youth Journeys will be held in Fargo, N.D.

About Hospice of the Red River Valley
Hospice of the Red River Valley is an independent, not-for-profit hospice serving all, or portions of, 29 counties in North Dakota and Minnesota. Hospice care is intensive comfort care that alleviates pain and suffering, enhancing the quality of life for patients with life-limiting illnesses and their loved ones by addressing their medical, emotional, spiritual and grief needs. For more information, call toll free 800-237-4629, email questions@hrrv.org or visit www.hrrv.org.

Permanent link to this article: http://hospicerrvblog.areavoices.com/2015/03/24/angels-in-disguise-husband-recalls-wifes-experience-with-hospice/

Mar 17

Unexpected Connection: A First-time Volunteer’s Rewarding Experience with Hospice

Julie S.When Julie Swiontek first considered volunteering for Hospice of the Red River Valley, she thought office work suited her best, and she never dreamed she would visit patients. “I thought, ‘I don’t know how to start conversations. What do I do if something happens?'” she explained.

Julie spoke with Hospice Volunteer Coordinator Kristi Sherven, who reassured Julie that all Hospice volunteers are thoroughly trained on what to do if something happens and who to contact if she needs help. “She was very good at alleviating any fears and concerns I had,” Julie said.

In June 2014, Julie was matched with a patient with Parkinson’s disease whose wife had recently passed away. Kristi said, “Julie’s first match has been perfect. Prior to visiting her patient the first time, she and her husband researched Navy ships, which the patient had served on, so she would have something to talk about on their visit.” Julie used the information she found and created a list of questions she could use to strike up a conversation with the patient.

“Our first conversation was awkward,” Julie said. “He didn’t know me, he had lost his wife two days before, and he was not in a great frame of mind.” But Julie kept trying, and her list of questions helped a great deal. “It helped me relate to him and communicate with him. Every time we meet I ask him a few questions about his time in the Navy . . . and now just three months after meeting each other, he’s initiating conversation.”

Julie and the patient spend time going on wheelchair rides and visiting. When the weather is dreary or he doesn’t feel well, the two sit by the aviary in his nursing home. “He loves looking at the birds, so we’ll sit and chat a bit,” Julie said. “It’s very calming.”

Communicating with a patient with Parkinson’s disease can be challenging because of the language difficulties. Julie said her patient didn’t reciprocate greetings or initiate conversation during the first few months they spent together. But recently that changed. Several weeks ago at the end of a visit, Julie put her hand on his knee and said goodbye. “All of a sudden, he took his hands and grabbed my hand with both of his,” Julie shared. “And he said, ‘Thank you for coming.'” Julie was surprised and struggled to contain her emotions as she left the building. “He had never done that before,” she said. “After that he has always said, ‘Thank you’ or gotten excited when I say, ‘See you next week.’”

Julie didn’t initially expect to connect with her patient so well, but it’s something she’s truly enjoyed. Julie said the patient “loves to smile and gets this little grin on his face. He has a very good sense of humor. I feel like he’s giving me more than I’m giving him, that’s for sure.”

Julie has advice for those considering volunteering for Hospice who are uncertain about what to expect. “I would tell people not to be afraid of hospice,” she said. “[Visiting with patients] is one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.”

Upcoming Events
Hospice of the Red River Valley is pleased to offer FREE community grief classes and workshop for adults and children this spring. Click for a complete listing of the spring grief classes.

Journeying Through Grief is a class designed for those who are recently bereaved. It is intended for adults 18 years and older who have experienced the recent loss of a loved one. The sessions will help you better understand the grief process, explore methods of self-care and embrace and carry memories with you as you move forward. Classes will be held at several locations, including Fargo, LaMoure, Lisbon and Valley City, N.D.

Youth Journeys is a day-long program for youth, ages 6 to 18, who have lost a loved one. Parents/guardians are also required to attend a portion of the day program. The day is broken down in sections, allowing youth a chance to explore how the death of their loved one has affected their lives, feelings they have, self-care and embracing memories. The day ends with a service of remembrance. Youth Journeys will be held in Fargo, N.D.

About Hospice of the Red River Valley
Hospice of the Red River Valley is an independent, not-for-profit hospice serving all, or portions of, 29 counties in North Dakota and Minnesota. Hospice care is intensive comfort care that alleviates pain and suffering, enhancing the quality of life for patients with life-limiting illnesses and their loved ones by addressing their medical, emotional, spiritual and grief needs. For more information, call toll free 800-237-4629, email questions@hrrv.org or visit www.hrrv.org.

Permanent link to this article: http://hospicerrvblog.areavoices.com/2015/03/17/unexpected-connection-a-first-time-volunteers-rewarding-experience-with-hospice/

Mar 10

Helping Your Parents Deal with Loss

Janna KontzBy Janna Kontz

My Dad was an amazing man. He had an eighth-grade education, but he never allowed that to hold him back. He was incredibly intelligent and loved to be challenged by things like serving on the school board and church council and being District Governor of the Lions. He was great at math and helped all of us with our homework well into high school and beyond. He was creative and artistic and loved to collect toy tractors. Dad could strike up a conversation with a total stranger, and in 10 minutes, know the person’s life story!

We lost him, bit by bit, to the devastating effects of dementia. He died in March 2014, but we started losing pieces of Dad in 2009.

My Mom has been incredible through it all. She has lost the most. Over time, she watched her strong, independent husband become indecisive and physically too weak to even turn a doorknob. She’s had to experience her husband, who typically had a great sense of humor, become angry and withdrawn. She did the driving, balanced the checkbook and took care of any house maintenance. She also took on all of his personal cares—even when my Dad didn’t want them done.

As I’ve watched my Mom go through all the loss in recent years, I’m continually humbled by her strength and resilience. Eighteen days before Dad died, my Mom finally said she couldn’t do it anymore and we moved him into a nursing home. He also started Hospice at that time. In that moment, she not only lost the physical presence of her husband day-in and day-out, but she also lost her home. Dad moved into a nursing home near where my sister lived so Mom was able to move in with her. Now she has moved to a townhome close to my sister, so she lost her church family and her community, as well.

How do we help our parents through all of the losses when they seem to come at them faster than even we can handle? Being in the midst of it as a daughter, I’ve realized the most important thing we can do to help our parents deal with loss is to show up. Show up for a visit. And when you can’t do that, show up with a phone call. And when you can’t muster a conversation, show up with a text or an email or a card in the mail.

They need to know you genuinely care about their loss—not just your own. Acknowledge their loss. Allow them to talk about it and grieve the loss and shed tears. Allow them to be sad when they need to be sad and mad when they need to be mad, and give them permission to be happy again. When their grief seems too much to handle, make sure they are connected to a larger support system than just family. Make sure they have some friends who have been through some of these same losses. If they are open to it, connect them to counseling. And show up. Show up on birthdays and anniversaries. Show up for the things most important to them—whether that is church or a concert, or just for supper. Show up.

Our parents are a gift to us, and they won’t be around forever. Tell them you love them. Let them know you care … and show up.

Janna Kontz is a chaplain with Hospice of the Red River Valley.

Upcoming Events
Hospice of the Red River Valley is pleased to offer FREE community grief classes and workshop for adults and children this spring. Click for a complete listing of the spring grief classes.

Journeying Through Grief is a class designed for those who are recently bereaved. It is intended for adults 18 years and older who have experienced the recent loss of a loved one. The sessions will help you better understand the grief process, explore methods of self-care and embrace and carry memories with you as you move forward. Classes will be held at several locations, including Fargo, LaMoure, Lisbon and Valley City, N.D., and East Grand Forks, Minn.

Youth Journeys is a day-long program for youth, ages 6 to 18, who have lost a loved one. Parents/guardians are also required to attend a portion of the day program. The day is broken down in sections, allowing youth a chance to explore how the death of their loved one has affected their lives, feelings they have, self-care and embracing memories. The day ends with a service of remembrance. Youth Journeys will be held in Fargo, N.D.

About Hospice of the Red River Valley
Hospice of the Red River Valley is an independent, not-for-profit hospice serving all, or portions of, 29 counties in North Dakota and Minnesota. Hospice care is intensive comfort care that alleviates pain and suffering, enhancing the quality of life for patients with life-limiting illnesses and their loved ones by addressing their medical, emotional, spiritual and grief needs. For more information, call toll free 800-237-4629, email questions@hrrv.org or visit www.hrrv.org.

Permanent link to this article: http://hospicerrvblog.areavoices.com/2015/03/10/helping-your-parents-deal-with-loss/

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