Hospice Heartbeat Newsletter


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



Upcoming Events/Fundraisers 

Thank you to everyone who purchased a Hannaford bag in the month of January in support for us. We were able to have 20 bags purchased. Our biggest and next fundraiser for the agency is our Annual Dinner and Auction, please see below, and we look forward to seeing you all at this great event. 



Karen... Thinking out loud

It has been a tough week for us Mainers, one storm after another, the blizzard of 2017, power outages and broken water mains.  I know I agree with many when I say I am tired of winter. I am tired of shoveling. I am tired of snow. I am tired of slippery roads. I have never been so ready for spring to arrive. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but I am hearing rumors of another Nor’Easter arriving the middle of next week. I have my fingers crossed that this is just terrible gossip with no substance to it…but kind of thinking it may be true. Hopefully the weather genies will have it steer out to sea for us all. We always need to have hope. In the meantime we have had lots of requests to help people with life limiting conditions clear their walkways, mailboxes and driveways. If you know of someone in your community that may struggle to remove their snow we hope you can find some extra stamina to help your neighbors. Also if you know of homebound residents please take a few minutes out of your day to check in on them. People that live alone do not do laundry as often as most people.  Checking on these people’s dryer vents to see that they are clear is also very important.  Thank you for thinking of others and helping out. Spring will be here soon…hang in there



This is a tough time of year for people with seasonal depression or people going through a grief journey. The weather we have had lately is not helping people in these categories. A friendly gesture can go a long ways…maybe just a simple, “hello, how are you today? If your grief has become too much to bear alone please do not hesitate to call us. We offer drop in support groups every Tuesday at 4:00 here at the office. We are happy to arrange a time to meet with you that works in your schedule if the Tuesday drop in support group is not convenient. Starting March 1 we will be offering a men’s support group. Please call the office if you would like to register for this group.


Director's View

This week I write to you from sunny Orlando, yes I have taken a vacation to be with my family. I want to say that it is very nice  and warm here. I am thinking of all of you back in Maine and having to deal with all of the snow that you have received. We want to remind you that we do have a few teen volunteers that can help you with snow clean up.. Please contact Karen at the office with your basic information, and she will help to set this up for you. 

The one topic that I want to touch on this week is stress, and Lots of people get depressed in winter, or suffer from "the winter blues". The medical name for this winter depression is seasonal affective disorder (SAD). 

Despite the fact that millions of us say we've suffered a winter-related low mood, it can feel as though the winter blues is just a myth. But there's sound scientific evidence to support the idea that the season can affect our moods.

Most scientists believe that the problem is related to the way the body responds to daylight. With SAD, one theory is that light entering the eye causes changes in hormone levels in the body. In our bodies, light functions to stop the production of the sleep hormone melatonin, making us wake up.

It’s thought that SAD sufferers are affected by shorter daylight hours in the winter. They produce higher melatonin, causing lethargy and symptoms of depression.”

If you’re going through a bout of winter blues, lack of daylight is probably playing a part.

If the winter blues is about lack of daylight, it’s no surprise that treatment involves getting more light into your life. If you feel low in winter, get outside as often as you can, especially on bright days. Sitting by a window can also help.

You might be tempted to escape the dark winter days with a holiday somewhere sunny. This can be effective for some, but other SAD sufferers have found that their condition gets worse when they return. Light therapy is often used to treat SAD. This involves sitting in front of or beneath a light box that produces a very bright light. 

It’s also important to eat well during the winter. Winter blues can make you crave sugary foods and carbohydrates such as chocolate, pasta and bread, but don’t forget to include plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables in your diet.

There is another weapon against the seasonal slump: keeping active.There’s convincing evidence that 30 minutes of vigorous exercise three times a week is effective against depression and anecdotal evidence that lighter exercise will have a beneficial effect, too.

If you have a tendency towards SAD, outdoor exercise will have a double benefit, because you’ll gain some daylight. Activity is believed to change the level of the mood-regulating chemical serotonin in the brain. It can also help by providing a pleasant change of scene, and helping you to meet new people.

If you’re suffering from SAD, your GP might be able to refer you to an exercise scheme. But if winter blues is your problem, why not get out and exercise independently? 

The charity Mind says research has shown that a one-hour walk in the middle of the day is an effective way to beat the winter blues. I hope that this helps and we will see you all next week, when my family returns, and dig out our house from the winter wonderland that we love so much. As for closing here is a picture that I will be keeping in mind until spring and summer comes. 


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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