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Volunteers wanted for visiting hospice services

By CJ Goater Jan 25, 2024 | 1:11 PM

The Alzheimer Society of Thunder Bay and Hospice Northwest Services have announced a collaborative project the Forget-Me-Not Volunteers, Visiting Hospice Services for People with Dementia.

Hospice Northwest has over 180 volunteers in the Thunder Bay District who offer care and support to people who are dying or grieving the loss of a loved one.

The support and companionship Hospice Northwest volunteer visiting can offer people with dementia can tremendously impact their well-being and quality of life.

While communication can be difficult for patients with dementia, volunteers can be there to hold a patient’s hand, comb their hair, or listen to music together. The relationship between client and volunteer can become an invaluable part of their care.

Volunteers are needed to get the new program up and running. Forget-Me-Not Volunteers will offer support to people with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia who live in our community.

This partnership between the two agencies will allow Hospice Northwest Services volunteers to become trained in Gentle Persuasive Approach training by the Public Education Coordinators at the Alzheimer Society.

“The mission of Hospice Northwest Services is to foster a compassionate community response to the needs of anyone living with, dying from, or affected by illness and disease,” explained Cherie Kok, the executive director of Hospice Northwest Services. “Dementia is one of those life-limiting illnesses. Forget-Me-Not volunteers will be able to receive special training that teaches them how to respond respectfully, with confidence and skill, to behaviors associated with dementia.”

Moving forward, volunteers will be matched with clients to provide weekly visits and enhance their quality of life for many years.

“This Forget Me-Not Volunteer Program will be a beneficial tool for our organization, allowing us the opportunity to offer this extra support to clients and their care partners. We are grateful for this partnership with Hospice Northwest Services”. said Pam Gerrie, executive director at Alzheimer Society Thunder Bay.

Hospice Northwest Services is currently accepting applications from individuals wishing to become a Forget-Me-Not Volunteer.

Anyone interested in learning more about volunteering with this essential new program can contact Hospice Northwest’s Volunteer Coordinator, Melissa Hazen directly at melissa@hospicenorthwest.ca or call our office at 807-626-5570.

The program will accept referrals in the spring of 2024 after a team is trained and ready.