There are things in the world that most folks just don’t think about.
Maybe till it is too late.
Janella Hodgson records the life stories of people as they approach the end of their life. Maybe they are terminally ill, or maybe they are simply aged and worn out.
She is a volunteer for Eastern Palliative Care, which is an organization that provides Palliative and Hospice services. These include home and nursing care to recording and transcribing the stories of people who have moved beyond medical help.
People want their story told. You'll find out their motivation, their reactions, and why Janella wanted to be a voluntary biographer.
You'll find answers to the question “Why are life stories important?”.
Interestingly, for the biographer a successful outcome for their work is not necessarily a published biography, nor is that the over-riding purpose of this program. But you are going to have to listen to the interview to sort that out.
Eastern Palliative Care is always looking for more biographers. They provide effective guidelines and comprehensive training to their volunteers to ensure their clients are safe and respected. This is obviously not something that appeals to the masses, but if you are one of those special people with empathy and a few skills, you can find more information by clicking on the link below and working your way to ‘Volunteers’ which you will find under the ‘Supporting EPC’ tag in the menu.
And as an aside, you may be able to contact a hospice or palliative care agency in your area to see if they are looking for volunteers to do this type of work where you live.
What do you think about these types of programs? Is this something you could do? Have you told your story yet? Did your loved one get to tell his life story? Let us know in the comments below!
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One of the things that we need to consider in our retirement lifestyle planning is how we are going to deal with illness and dying. And, when the time comes, hospice care can be an excellent way of preparing ourselves for the inevitable.
I knew that Jennifer was a hospice expert, but I didn't know that in 2006 she got her Master's Degree. She worked with
children at the time and went to school to get her Master's Degree. She credits her professor with saving her life when he suggested that she work with hospice. There are only two schools that offer courses on death and dying in San Diego.
Jennifer Marsh is a community education and outreach specialist for Hospice of the North Coast. She has over ten years of creating, marketing and sustaining thriving educational programs to the general community about serious illness, care-giving and grief and loss issues.
Jennifer has been published in the Touching Lives magazine (2009), and featured on KOCT-TV and Eldercare Talk Radio providing insight and resources to those coping with a serious illness, caring for a loved one and grieving. Jennifer is an expert on hospice and mortality and has been interviewed on the SevenPonds Blog.
She has expertise in creating and implementing community outreach and fundraising events, including Breathe Deep San Diego.
In 2013, she was named as a Finalist for the San Diego Women Who Mean Business Awards through the San Diego Business Journal.
Everyone I know who works in hospice care is a caring person. That field seems to attract loving and patient people. Jennifer's mom had cancer, and even though she had already been working in her chosen field when this happened, she instantly became “the daughter”. She knows what its like to have a loved one who has been diagnosed with a deadly disease.
There are a lot of misconceptions about hospice and that's why I asked Jennifer to be on the show. She shared with us the important truth about hospice:
Listen to the Interview with Geraldine “Geri” Afshari, Harp Musician and Speaker on iTunes, Stitcher, or Podcast Addict.
For instructions on how to do that, go HERE. She played a song for us, and we can't put that into words!
Geri Afshari is a musician and plays the Paraguayan harp professionally, travels extensively and lived in Iran, is a writer/editor/photographer, a lay counselor, a life-long activist, an avid SUP paddler, and hunts sea glass for her sea glass mosaic artwork. She is also retired from working because she has to for money. What a great place to be!
Geri has been the featured speaker for numerous parent classes and teacher workshops over the years, including MOPs (Mothers of Preschoolers), various women’s ministries, annual Pre-12th grade conventions for ACSI (Association of Christian Schools International), and many K-12 school and home school groups.
She loves to SUP (Stand Up Paddle Board), and tells people to slow down, use the luxury of time, understand how sound healing works, and she also volunteers for the palliative care team at Scripps Encinitas.
Her newest passions include harp therapy and sound meditation, besides whatever her family is doing.
Geri is the mother of 2 grown children and has 2 grandsons. They all live near her in North San Diego County and share her love for the ocean and nature in general. She loves taking them with her on trips.
She plays her Paraguayan harp at all types of events besides harp therapy and sound meditation.
Geri says that eating, cleaning, epigenetics, yoga and meditation all can help improve your health. Of course, listening to music (and in particular harp music) can't hurt either!
What do you think people should know BEFORE they retire?
Geri thinks people should know how free and giddy they’ll feel to own their own time. She also thinks retirees should remember that the best things in life really are free. You will find your new self, your significance, your purpose and you don’t need much money. She also says to spend time in nature.
What if you feel stuck:
Give yourself permission to return to your basic self. Your health is your responsibility, so take ownership of it, don’t outsource it anyone. Research, learn, grow, heal and seek joy. Do things that line up with the heart of God. Time is the treasure so use it well. Serve others and you will be blessed.
What the heck is Palliative Care? I'd never heard of it before 2016.
Pastor William “Bill” Harman came on the show to explain Palliative Care to us.
His background is long so I'll summarize his current activities:
Center for Global Awareness
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Lives in Encinitas, CA
Bill Harman is the Chaplain with the Palliative Care Team at Scripps Encinitas Hospital. He came on the show to talk to us
What is it?
Palliative Care is not hospice. It is specialized medical care to relieve symptoms and improve quality of life. This is for conditions that won’t be cured but can be managed. Some diseases include COPD, other respiratory disorders, and cancer.
Why would someone want it?
This care is designed for comfort and pain management. It is for the seriously ill, but for those who are trying to get better. Palliative care helps minimize pain and discomfort. 90% of hospitals that have over 300 beds have a palliative care program.
What does a Chaplain do?
Chaplains are educators. Chaplains provide spiritual care, and educate people about end of life. Bill is familiar with 55 religious preferences and helps facilitate the dying’s wishes. Bill said that according to the “happiness index”, Bhutan is the happiest country because of how they deal with death. Chaplains deal with human issues, not necessary religion.
Why does it even exist?
In the 1950s, people died earlier. Now we are extending life. As we extend life we need to answer questions for ourselves. If we want to extend our own lives longer, then palliative care can help with the discomfort and pain we feel because of disease.
Who pays for it?
Although Medicare pays for the bulk of palliative care, there are pediatric palliative care teams at certain hospitals.
To hear the both stories in full, listen to the episode on iTunes, Stitcher, or Podcast Addict. For instructions on how to listen on your smartphone, go HERE.
Surfer Story: Bill told us a story about a surfer who had cancer. He wasn’t going to survive and he wanted to spend one more night on the beach. The team was able to get him to the beach to help accommodate his last wish.
Hawaii Story: Bill told us of another patient who wanted to go to Hawaii. The team wasn’t able to send him to Hawaii, but they DID throw a Hawaiian party for her.
Marriage: Another story was how a patient wanted to see his daughter get married. Many of the things that the team did was similar to Make a Wish.