10 April 2019

Happy National Volunteer Week.
Continuing our salute to volunteers who donate their time and talents to bring companionships and comfort to our hospice patients, Brookdale Senior Living is proud to highlight these wonderful Brookdale Hospice volunteers.
If you missed the intro to this series, or want to read about other volunteers click on hospice volunteers, part 1.

Volunteer: Michaelene Murray
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Michaelene Murray’s commitment to the Brookdale Hospice Phoenix Volunteer Program began in September of 2016.  With over 450 service hours, Michaelene has provided companionship, respite, organizational support, bereavement visits and 11th hour visits selflessly assisting the Brookdale Hospice Phoenix Team, patients and their grieving family members.

Brookdale Hospice Phoenix along with the many family members she has cared for, are beyond thankful Michaelene continues to share her compassionate gifts.  With her empathetic and genuine heart, Michaelene exemplifies what it means to be a phenomenal Hospice Volunteer and is an integral part of a team that is dedicated to providing outstanding care to patients and their families.

Murray on why she volunteers:
I began volunteering in the fall of 2016 as a hospice companion at the suggestion of a neighbor, who worked at Brookdale and knew of my desire to move in to the field of working with seniors. Thanks to her, I have been able to help almost 20 residents while in Hospice care with Brookdale! My work in Hospice is the most rewarding thing I have ever done in my life! And you may ask why…

The gift of your total presence and your truest intentions of the heart, for me, is the recipe for dedicated service when caring for those in Hospice care. Whether the resident (or their loved ones) may be afraid of the unknown or they don’t know how to let go, I strive to help them release fears and frustrations that may be hindering them from moving forward on their journey with dignity and gently remind them to keep an open heart while living and dying. Never underestimate the comfort of a warm hug, a kind word of hope, the emotion of a song, the fun of painting a flowerpot can be for them. Though they may not be able to say it to you in their last moments, they are grateful for your friendship and service to them. You have made a difference in their lives!

Volunteer: Lee Touchberry
Location: Colorado Springs, Colo.
Lee served 28 proud years in the Navy, is a school teacher and mentor. He jumped right in with our program and has been visiting Veterans from WWII, Korea and Vietnam. He has attended all four orientations at Brookdale Hospice, and at three of those orientations he spoke to new volunteers about what it’s like to be a volunteer. He has an incredible heart for service, and he makes his patients feel good. He’s currently visiting a WWII Veteran and a Navy veteran.

Touchberry on why he volunteers: When each of my parents neared the end of their lives I remember how pleased they were to have friends and anyone stop by and visit with them. I always enjoyed listening to the stories of my aunts and uncles as well, even through multiple tellings. Their joy was in telling the story no matter who was listening. By volunteering, I am giving someone a chance to enjoy their life anew. I am hearing new stories and seeing a sparkle in the eyes of those I visit, all because I visited with them and acknowledged them and their life just as others did for my parents . After each visit I know it has been time well spent. My grandfather was in the Army in France in WWI, my Dad in WWII, and I am also a military veteran so I try to give an ear to the veterans I visit in a manner that perhaps others aren't able to relate to. It is always rewarding even though I know how the story ends.

Volunteer: Jes Raintree
Location: Colorado Springs
Jes jumped right into our program and visits multiple patients at Brookdale Skyline and in their homes. She has helped with our nascent Tuck-in Program, and as a certified Zentangle teacher, has started going to facilities to teach people the Zentangle method of mindful doodling.

Raintree on why she volunteers: At first I volunteered in hospice to “pay forward” the caring and humanity provided to my parents during their end of life journeys. Service is who I am but I never knew I had a heart (or ability) to share my time and talents with hospice patients, but what a joy! It has been an honor for me to know amazing people and assist in the accomplishments of their end of life goals.

Everyday tasks we set aside until later become very important when “later” is now. Sorting family photos, capturing life stories, or throwing one last snowball. Each one of those small acts had tremendous influence on the patient’s sense of peace. Hospice is good work, heart work, and rewarding work.  My prayer every day is simple: be at peace. Hospice provides hope and peace.

Read the intro to our Hospice Volunteer Series. We'll present two more volunteers on Friday, April 12.



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