Wings of Hope Hospice https://wingsofhopehospice.com/ Hospice Care in Southwest Michigan Wed, 09 Nov 2022 20:19:15 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=6.1.1 Volunteer Spotlight https://wingsofhopehospice.com/volunteer-spotlight-3/ https://wingsofhopehospice.com/volunteer-spotlight-3/#respond Wed, 09 Nov 2022 19:55:29 +0000 https://wingsofhopehospice.com/?p=7656 Meet Sylvia Flahaut Wings: Tell us a little about yourself. I was born in Illinois and have lived in Allegan County since age 5. I graduated from Allegan High School […]

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Meet Sylvia Flahaut

Wings: Tell us a little about yourself.

I was born in Illinois and have lived in Allegan County since age 5. I graduated from Allegan High School and stayed in the area. I was married at 19 and raised two children with my husband, Wally. We used the services of the Wings Home in 2016 when Wally passed away from Leukemia.
I spent most of my working life at Allegan General Hospital, retiring in 2011. I wanted something meaningful to do with some of my time so I started volunteering at the Wings Home and also Allegan District Library “Friends of the Library.” I love to travel, garden and go for walks. Family get-togethers are one of my greatest joys.

Wings: How long have you been volunteering with Wings?

I have volunteered at the Wings Home for 10 1/2 years.

Wings: How did you get started?

After retirement I contacted Wings of Hope. I know not everyone can do this kind of work, and my work experience gives me an advantage. Having worked at Allegan General, I was familiar with illnesses and dying so thought I would give volunteering a try. I have worked with some fantastic volunteers and staff over the years.

Wings: What motivates you to serve with Wings?

I enjoy working with the residents, making their last days as comfortable as possible. Bringing comfort to their families was also so very important to me.

Wings: What’s your favorite things about volunteering?

Being associated with an organization with a good reputation and being a part of an awesome team of professionals and volunteers. Being able to provide for people’s needs. Meeting a variety of new people.

Wings: What would you say to someone who’s thinking of volunteering?

If you’re retiring, or have a little extra time look around and see what you can do. It may not be Wings, but there is a place where you can be helpful. There are projects you can do at the Wings of Hope Hospice office throughout the year also.

Wings: What is a favorite Wings memory?

We had a man from the community that I had known since I was a teenager. It was sad to see him getting weaker every day but he was so upbeat and it was a pleasure to care for him. There are too many other memories to list. The appreciation of the residents and their families makes volunteering worth while.

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Volunteer Spotlight https://wingsofhopehospice.com/volunteer-spotlight-2/ https://wingsofhopehospice.com/volunteer-spotlight-2/#respond Thu, 08 Sep 2022 17:18:46 +0000 https://wingsofhopehospice.com/?p=7543 Meet Rodney Hill Wings: Tell us a little about yourself. Rodney: I grew up on a farm Minnesota and have lived in the Allegan area for the last 21 years. […]

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Meet Rodney Hill

Wings: Tell us a little about yourself.

Rodney: I grew up on a farm Minnesota and have lived in the Allegan area for the last 21 years. Before that we lived in Grand Rapids, Flint, and Detroit. I have a BA degree in English Literature from Augsburg University, a MDiv in theology from Augustana Theological Seminary, and a DMin in Parish Ministry from Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago. I became a widower 2 years ago. We have two grown children, five grandchildren, and two great grandchildren. I retired in 2001 after 20 years of parish ministry and 20 years with Samaritas. My hobbies include, baseball, counted cross stitch art (some from my own photos), woodworking, reading, and world travel.

Wings: How long have you been volunteering with Wings?

Rodney: 15-20 years

Wings: How did you get started?

Rodney: When I retired, I contacted Wings of Hope. I had an appreciation of the hospice concept and experience with dying people in hospice care. I know not everyone can do this kind of work, and my work experience gives me an advantage. I grew up with parents who volunteered a lot, so volunteering has always been a part of my life. Locally I’ve also served with AARP doing tax preparation and on the board of the United Way.

Wings: What motivates you to serve with Wings?

Rodney: I enjoy working with the staff and like knowing that I’m freeing up the professionals to do their work. Delivering of meds or supplies, for example, frees workers to spend time with other patients. Volunteers can be supportive.

Wings: What’s your favorite things about volunteering?

Rodney: Being associated with an organization with a good reputation and being a part of an awesome team of professionals and volunteers. Being able to provide for people’s needs. Meeting new people.

Wings: What would you say to someone who’s thinking of volunteering?

Rodney: Do it! If you’re retiring, look around and see what you can do. It may not be Wings, but there is a place where you can be helpful.

Wings: What is a favorite Wings memory?

Rodney: I really like seeing the appreciation and thankfulness of the person I’m helping.

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Volunteer Spotlight https://wingsofhopehospice.com/volunteer-spotlight/ https://wingsofhopehospice.com/volunteer-spotlight/#respond Wed, 06 Jul 2022 19:41:21 +0000 https://wingsofhopehospice.com/?p=7460 Meet Tom Schipper Wings: Tell us a little about yourself. Tom: I am 64 years old, married to my wife of 45 years. I am now retired and have been […]

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Meet Tom Schipper

Wings: Tell us a little about yourself.

Tom: I am 64 years old, married to my wife of 45 years. I am now retired and have been retired since March of 2020. I live on a small farm that I was born and raised on. In my working years I have worked as a wood worker, mechanic, farmer, paramedic, firefighter, janitor, meter reader, gas pipeline welder, bus driver, RV delivery person. As you can see, I am a Jack of all trades and master of none.

Wings: How long have you been volunteering with Wings?

Tom: I have been volunteering with Wings of Hope since 2006.

Wings: How did you get started?

Tom: I had recently retired from being a street medic on an ambulance and really missed the patient care. A lady from our church had given a presentation on seeking volunteers for Wing of Hope Hospice and it sounded like a good fit for me. I had experienced Hospice taking care of some family members and believed it would be a great way to help others and fill the void in my life of missing patient care.

Wings: What motivates you to serve at Wings Home?

Tom: I have experienced much loss in my life. My father died when I was 17 and my son died when I was 38. I have lost 3 brothers in laws to cancer and a 19-year-old nephew. I have seen how Hospice can make such a difference to so many people and I want to be part of that. It really helps me keep life in the proper perspective when I choose to help others. It reminds me how blessed I am each day with the abundant life God has given me.

Wings: What’s your favorite thing about volunteering?

Tom: My favorite thing is to care for people and their families. There is no greater reward for me than to help a patient and their family in need, to help them have quality time spent in the final days of life.

Wings: What would you say to someone who’s thinking of volunteering?

Tom: I would tell those who are considering volunteering to really think about how at the wings home they are able to make a difference in someone’s life for true goodness. Each shift my goal is to make sure that people feel cared for, that no one dies alone and to help create a place where family members and friends can share love in a place of peace.

Wings: What is a favorite Wings Home memory?

Tom: My favorite memory is a day where my wife and I were able to care for someone that we knew. She was a lady that we had not seen for some time, and we did not know that she had terminal cancer. This was a day when she had shown much improvement from previous days. This woman was having a rally day. She was doing very well with minimal pain and was able to share much quality time with many family members. We were working the afternoon shift on this Sunday. It was later in the afternoon, and I was checking in on the patient. She was very tired taking a nap in her bed with her teenage granddaughter napping beside her in her bed. Her son was sleeping in a recliner next to her bed. It was a perfect picture of peace in a very unpeaceful life because of the cancer. On that day the cancer didn’t win. It was a day that I felt so fortunate to be part of. The patient died the next morning. In my mind this memory is an example of what hospice is all about.

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Veterans Honored at Pinning Ceremony https://wingsofhopehospice.com/veterans-honored-at-pinning-ceremony/ https://wingsofhopehospice.com/veterans-honored-at-pinning-ceremony/#respond Fri, 28 Jan 2022 17:18:58 +0000 https://wingsofhopehospice.com/?p=7221 Wings of Hope Hospice staff were warmly welcomed at Douglas Cove Health and Rehabilitation in Douglas on Veteran’s Day to honor the veterans who live at that facility. During the […]

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Wings of Hope Hospice staff were warmly welcomed at Douglas Cove Health and Rehabilitation in Douglas on Veteran’s Day to honor the veterans who live at that facility.

During the pinning ceremony, each veteran received a personalized certificate of honor along with a special veteran pin. The event also included hearing a medley of the theme songs for each military branch, a patriotic reading by Wings of Hope Hospice Clinical Liaison Laura Toweson, opportunity for each veteran to tell about their time of service in the military, the singing of “God Bless America” accompanied by Wings of Hope Hospice Spiritual Care Coordinator Greg Carlson, and a generous helping of apple pie and coffee.

The ceremony was a part of Wings of Hope Hospice’s participation in the We Honor Veterans program. A collaboration between the Department of Veterans Affairs and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, the presentation is designed to enhance care for veterans at their end of life by recognizing the significance of their military service to America and for advancing the universal hope of freedom and liberty for all.

Wings of Hope Hospice offers a similar ceremony to all its patients who are veterans, customizing each to meet the needs and desires of every individual.

All seven of the veterans at the Douglas ceremony were appreciative of the honors. One in particular told how he had been looking for just the right time to tell about an unfortunate event that he was involved with during his time of military service where he lost some comrades. With tears in his eyes, he sat back with a look of contentment. He said, “There now, I have told my story. I’m glad I could do that because, [at my advanced age], I may not have much time left to tell it.”

The Douglas Cove activity director Bridget Fritz then went around to each veteran with a warm hug, a kiss on the top of the head and words of appreciation.

By: Greg Carlson, Spiritual Care Coordinator at Wings of Hope

Pictured below are Laura Toweson and Greg Carslon

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Life and Death with Dignity https://wingsofhopehospice.com/life-and-death-with-dignity/ https://wingsofhopehospice.com/life-and-death-with-dignity/#respond Tue, 01 Jun 2021 13:19:15 +0000 https://wingsofhopehospice.com/?p=6791 A recent patient said she learned the meaning of the phrase, “death with dignity.” She said the Wings of Hope Hospice team cared for her with the love of God. […]

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A recent patient said she learned the meaning of the phrase, “death with dignity.” She said the Wings of Hope Hospice team cared for her with the love of God. Her case manager and bath aide had genuine concern in their voices in trying different methods to deal with her pain. Her social worker went above and beyond to build a support team for the patient. Our patient said, “The people from Wings of Hope couldn’t be replaced in 100 years because they have shown me incredible kindness, decency and respect in all the things they do for me. I now know the difference between dying and dying with dignity.”

This patient had been disrespected throughout her life. She had been violated first by her father, then step-father. She lived on big city streets for many years as a drug addict, criminal and prostitute. She had been robbed many times, stabbed twice and abused in her trade to the point she felt as useless as trash. She felt many in the hospitals turned their back on her once they found out about her addictions. She became suicidal because of her feeling of worthlessness. As a result of the contempt she had experienced, it meant a lot to her to be treated as valuable by the Wings of Hope staff.

I’m glad she didn’t take her own life. If she had ended it prematurely, she would have missed out on her final chapter – living and dying with a sense of worth.

The Death with Dignity (aka Medical Aid in Dying) movement is increasingly accepted in our culture. The intention of this movement is to help a person with a terminal disease avoid the indignity of suffering that they perceive is in store for them by ending their life pharmaceutically. I think, in contrast to this, that a person can experience dignity in dying a natural death, perhaps more dignity than they ever had before. Good hospice care can help a dying person understand that sense of dignity.

 

Author: Greg Carlson, Spiritual Care Coordinator for Wings of Hope Hospice

 

Photo by Craig Gardiner Photography

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Sensible Measures to Maintain Family Harmony at End of Life https://wingsofhopehospice.com/sensible-measures-to-maintain-family-harmony-at-end-of-life/ https://wingsofhopehospice.com/sensible-measures-to-maintain-family-harmony-at-end-of-life/#respond Thu, 17 Sep 2020 17:53:25 +0000 https://wingsofhopehospice.com/?p=6042 As a hospice spiritual caregiver, it’s hard to bring comfort to a family when they are fighting. I was recently in one of those ugly scenes where a mother lay […]

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As a hospice spiritual caregiver, it’s hard to bring comfort to a family when they are fighting.

I was recently in one of those ugly scenes where a mother lay dying while her children and grandchildren argued around her bed. They quarreled about the family estate and what would be the best care for their mother. They had different opinions on what size the grave stone should be and whether they should have macaroni or potato salad at the funeral lunch. It was miserable and my heart went out to them as I suggested that perhaps their mother would appreciate hearing her family’s affirmation and appreciation.

I have seen other such scenes where families squabble about whether to discontinue a loved-one’s life support. Should Mom’s eyes be donated?

These kinds of scenes make me thankful that my parents have written out their desires in detail, using the proper legal documents to do so. After a recent Thanksgiving Dinner, the dishes were cleared and the family was in a jovial mood. Dad and Mom took an hour to tell us what was important to them in regard to their elder care and funerals. Yes, they even specified what will be on the menu for the funeral luncheon. We then took the opportunity to tell our parents what we appreciate about them. It was all upbeat with lots of humor and laughter.

I think one of the most loving things we can do for our loved-ones is to spell out our wishes in regard to medical care, our estate and funerals. It minimizes the potential for conflict and gives us a voice at the table when decisions need to be made. I hope our family will be able to continue to experience the support of one another as Dad and Mom age.

My wife and I have also completed the necessary Advanced Medical Directives, Trust, Wills and even indicated our wishes for our funerals. Me? Hah! I prefer tacos and ice cream at my funeral lunch.

Author: Greg Carson, Spiritual Care Coordinator

Photo by Craig Gardiner Photography

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What is Death Education and Why is It Important? https://wingsofhopehospice.com/what-is-death-education-and-why-is-it-important/ https://wingsofhopehospice.com/what-is-death-education-and-why-is-it-important/#respond Mon, 06 Jul 2020 18:12:00 +0000 https://wingsofhopehospice.com/?p=5856 Death can be difficult to talk about. Learning more about death through Death Education can help increase our comfort level which may make death less frightening.

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Death Systems https://wingsofhopehospice.com/death-systems/ https://wingsofhopehospice.com/death-systems/#respond Mon, 06 Jul 2020 18:10:39 +0000 https://wingsofhopehospice.com/?p=5853 The many parts of a society’s death system serve a variety of functions.

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Death Awareness https://wingsofhopehospice.com/death-awareness/ https://wingsofhopehospice.com/death-awareness/#respond Mon, 06 Jul 2020 18:09:20 +0000 https://wingsofhopehospice.com/?p=5850 Individuals who are dying have varying levels of awareness about it. This research is more than 50 years old and is still relevant today.

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Death Attitude https://wingsofhopehospice.com/death-attitude/ https://wingsofhopehospice.com/death-attitude/#respond Mon, 06 Jul 2020 18:06:25 +0000 https://wingsofhopehospice.com/?p=5845 Attitudes about death as measured by the Death Attitude Profile - Revised tool include fear of death, death avoidance, neutral/natural acceptance, approach acceptance and escape acceptance.

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