I've written about volunteering before. It's a great way to give back to the community. It also takes your mind off of your own problems and gives you a fresh perspective on life. There are many volunteer opportunities in your community. Some are as simple as giving money or stuffing envelopes for an hour. Others require much more time and emotion. One such "emotionally charged" volunteer opportunity is helping out at your local hospice.
Hospice is a medical organization dedicated to improving the lives of those with a terminal illness. Its primary goal is to provide comfort care and resources to make this last stage of life as painless as possible. That includes sending in doctors, nurses, home health aids, and volunteers to assist the patient and the family.
Volunteers can take on many roles with hospice. They can sit with the patient, read to them, pray with them, and do crafts. They can provide respite for family members who need to get out of the house or take a nap. Volunteers can do shopping, light housekeeping, and even drive patients to appointments. Most importantly, they can sit with someone so that they don't have to die alone (if they don't want to).
I started volunteering for a local hospice agency 6 weeks ago. I have not regretted it for a single moment! People ask me how I can stand being around those who are dying. I don't look at it that way. Instead I see it as being around those who need some comfort, however small, before they move on to the next chapter of their lives.
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