Volunteer hospice is a community resource
May 1, 2023 | View PDF
In February, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter decided to spend his remaining time at home with his family and receive hospice care. Despite his remarkable longevity and vitality until the end, President Carter still faced the inevitability of aging and the need for end-of-life care. After hearing this news, many people in the U.S. began wondering: what is hospice care? Hospice provides compassionate care to people nearing the end of their lives. It is a form of specialized healthcare that improves the quality of life of patients and their families during the final stages of a terminal illness.
There are two types of hospice care available: Medicare hospice and volunteer hospice. Medicare hospice is a government-funded program that provides palliative care to patients who have a terminal illness with a prognosis of six months or less to live. Volunteer hospices, on the other hand, are non-profit organizations that provide free or low-cost end-of-life care to patients who do not fit the qualifications of Medicare hospice. While both types of hospice care provide similar services, volunteer hospices often rely on the support of volunteers and donations to provide care. Hospice of Anchorage is a volunteer hospice.
Hospice of Anchorage services
In addition to end-of-life care for patients, Hospice of Anchorage also has a resource center open to anyone in Anchorage at no cost. Part of the resource center is a lending library with books on chronic illness, grief, end-of-life, child loss, dementia, caregiving, and more. There is also a loan closet with a wide variety of durable medical equipment and supplies including walkers, wheelchairs, shower chairs and incontinence supplies. These resources can be helpful for anyone, regardless of their current stage of life. Additionally, the resource center has free items for people experiencing dementia, like fidget blankets, robotic dogs and easy-to-use music players. These things can provide comfort and stimulation for people with dementia and improve their quality of life.
How can I help?
Volunteer hospices keep their doors open through volunteers, grants and donations. Hospice of Anchorage's loan closet is run on donations, and there is a high need in our community for these free resources. Currently, the loan closet is low on:
transport and self-propelled wheelchairs
size M incontinence briefs
If you, or an organization you belong to, is able to donate any of these items (or make a monetary donation in support of these items), please contact Hospice of Anchorage at 907-561-5322.
Volunteer hospices provide a vital service to the community. Through donations and volunteering, our Anchorage community can maintain this circle of help, hope, and comfort.
Summer Johnson-Thomas is a Hospice of Anchorage volunteer.