Hospice Heartbeat Newsletter


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Hospice Volunteers of Somerset County, Inc.
Hospice HeartbeatHospice Heartbeat Newsletter



You are invited to join us for a great and informational night: 


Upcoming Events/Fundraisers 

Time is running out, have you got your bags yet??



Karen... Thinking out loud

It is that time of year again. That time of year I wished I had paid more attention in math class back in my elementary days. That time of year where I wished I liked math and numbers and the use of addition. That time of year when me and the calculator become best friends. The past few days I have been checking all the volunteer files, checking all the records and using my math skills to get all the data compiled for 2016. All this information will be provided at our annual meeting next month. Every year it impresses me how much time our volunteers have given to ensure the success of our mission and our agency. Through all of our programs, community service and help in the office our volunteers have provided over 2,000 hours of their time. We continue to be grateful to all our volunteers for everything they do. We thank them for a successful 2016.  We hope to see you at the annual meeting to share in our 2016 year and help us shape 2017 to be a rewarding year.



The first snowstorms have come and gone. The holidays are behind us. More snow is on its way. Bone chilling temperatures are still with us.  This could be the start of what many refer to as the “Winter Blues”. For people that are dealing with a loss or depression and for homebound seniors this can be a very trying time of year.  The “winter blues” can make us feel tired, lethargic, irritable and lacking in our normal enthusiasm for life.  Senior adults can be particularly vulnerable to the winter doldrums since they might be less mobile, less active and less capable of doing things on their own.  The caretakers may be struggling as they suffer from their own winter ‘blahs’.  The best way to beat this winter depression is to face it straight on. Bundle up and find ways to get outside. A short walk to the end of a drive way or even pacing back and forth on a front porch will help give you essential fresh air and sunshine. Open all your curtains or blinds in your home…let the sunshine in. People with more extreme cases of winter depression may actually have Seasonal Affective Disorder. One may want to talk to a doctor about the use of a light box.  Getting enough exercise can be very important in improving ones mood, overall health, mental sharpness and susceptibility to illness. Check with your local schools and gyms to see if they offer planned walking times for seniors. Maintaining an active social calendar and networking with friends is another important way to enjoy yourself and help the winter season pass by. Go ahead and schedule that lunch date despite the cold days. On the particular snowy days…tackle that long awaited project, read that book you have been meaning to get to, look through picture books and reminisce about fun times.  Perhaps the most important thing to remember is to THINK POSITIVE.  Remember that winter does not last forever. Try to envision the coming days of spring and the sunshine, flowers and the songbirds that come with it.  As I drive home from work I notice it is not as dark now at 5:00. Daylight is truly increasing!

During this time we want to remind you that we offer an ongoing, drop-in, grief support group open to both community members and hospice friends and families. This group aims to help any individual grieving the death of a loved one, regardless of whether their loved one was on a hospice program. Some months we have specific topics to discuss, other months we have support and community held in a typical support group setting. This is a “drop-in” group - in the sense that you can come and go as you please depending on your needs or monthly availability. There is no cost to attend and registration is not required. For more information please contact us at 474.7775 or Karen here


Director's View

Many people ask what a hospice volunteer is, and why our agency is here. So in this newsletter we would like to take a minute and talk about this. Many people imagine themselves becoming hospice volunteers, making a difference for people at the end of their life journey. Too many never make the phone call that could change their lives because they’re not sure what will be expected of them, and they are not sure if they have what it takes. Volunteers fills the gap between loved ones and professional caregivers. Volunteers will be there even when friends and family find it hard to do so. Volunteers don’t have the emotional attachment family does. They are trained to meet the needs of patients and families. They visit on a schedule, yet are open to change as dictated by the patient’s health and interests. They are unpaid, yet priceless.

Volunteers provide important services to hospice organizations and the people they serve. Whether it’s providing companionship to a person in the final months and weeks of life, offering support to family members and caregivers, or helping with community outreach and fundraising, the contributions of volunteers are essential to the important work provided by our nation’s hospice programs.

Why do hospices have volunteers?

When hospice care became a Medicare benefit in 1982, written into the law signed by President Ronald Reagan was the requirement that community volunteers had to provide a minimum of 5 percent of total patient care hours. It is one of the things that makes hospice care unique in healthcare.

The thinking was that volunteers would provide a kind of caring and a point of view that neither the professional healthcare providers on the team nor the family, who is also part of the hospice team, would offer. Today every Medicare-certified hospice—public or private, secular or faith-based, for-profit or non-profit—trains community volunteers to provide 5 percent of patient care hours. It’s the law.


From the President

We are always looking for qualified, committed individuals to serve on our board or one of our several committees. If you or someone you know may be interested please contact the Executive Director here. Below you will find our current board members that help to shape the future of our agency.

Tim Curtis, Chairman
Dana Hamilton, Vice-Chairman
Thomas Desjardins, Treasurer
Kim DeMerchant, Secretary
Bill Primmerman
Eunice Thorpe 
Heather Washburn



In Closing

Hospice Volunteers of Somerset County is a 501 c3 organization with a tax exempt status and EIN of: 01-0465864. You can always make a donation to our organization by mailing it to: 41 Main Street, Skowhegan Maine 04976, or online by clicking here

It is important to remember the mission of Hospice Volunteers of Somerset County, which is: Is to care for those with a life limiting illness, provide support and solace to the grieving, and to educate the community.

Also it is important to remember that, all our services are provided at no charge to all of the residents that we serve.


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