Worthwhile Experiences Await Hospice Volunteers in Petoskey, Gaylord and Cheboygan

Current volunteers share their experiences to welcome others in serving the community

GAYLORD, MI. Jan. 19, 2018 – New Year, new to-dos…although some people may dread their resolutions, volunteering can offer enriching experiences – especially through Hospice of Michigan. The nonprofit is seeking volunteers for Petoskey, Gaylord, Cheboygan and surrounding communities across Antrim, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Crawford, Emmet and Otsego Counties, where the number of patients continues to grow. There’s a special need for patient companions to help provide socialization and companionship to HOM patients or caregivers, through activities such as playing cards, listening to music or simple conversation. Those with pets are also encouraged to donate their time via the pet therapy program.

The rewards of becoming a hospice volunteer are underscored by the engagement of Petoskey locals Janet and Dan Lisonbee. The couple has been visiting patients about once a week for five years – often together, which they say helps facilitate conversation. They find the time they spend with hospice patients intrinsically rewarding. “It’s really fun to get to know some of our local elderly people, many of whom have spent their whole lives in Michigan,” said Janet, “They have interesting stories to tell. They light up when we come to visit and we know that they appreciate the company. Friendships are made.”

Gaylord resident and two-year hospice volunteer Dorothy Tarbell provides relief for caregivers in patients’ homes, supports patients’ families and visits patients in long term care facilities. Tarbell knows there are many ways to contribute as a volunteer, but no matter what, the most important thing to remember is love. “I sit down and visit with them, read to them,” Dorothy remarked, “I show them love and compassion. I volunteer to see a smile. It’s so rewarding to hear a patient say thank you, and I’m blessed if I’ve brightened their day.”

Those looking for an experience like the Lisonbees should contact Kathy Lietaert, volunteer program manager HOM’s north region at 231.779.5409 or klietaer@hom.org to learn more about working with patients, general information about the nonprofit hospice organization and its patients and the benefits that active volunteers may experience. All volunteers receive training, with sessions currently being scheduled for February. More information about Hospice of Michigan and volunteering is also available at www.hom.org.

About Hospice of Michigan
A nationally recognized leader in end-of-life care, Hospice of Michigan (HOM) is the original – and largest – hospice in the state. A founding member of the NorthStar Care Community, the nonprofit delivers the highest quality of care, raising more than $5 million each year to cover costs for the uninsured and underinsured. HOM offers a broad range of services to enhance the quality of life at the end of life. HOM also provides grief support and counseling, as well as caregiver education and support. A member of the NorthStar Care Community, HOM also provides palliative care through NorthStar Palliative Care, pediatric hospice care and compassionate support services through Jo Elyn Nyman Anchors Programs for Children, and education programs for physicians and health care professionals through the NorthStar Institute. The NorthStar Care Community also includes Arbor Hospice. In total, NorthStar Care Community members serve more than 1,500 patients daily across Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. For more information, call 888.247.5701