Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Pet Wedding: Volunteers Sami and Smiley Tie the Knot at Joanne's House


With a wedding party of fourteen dogs of various breeds and sizes, Smiley, a rescued Greyhound, and Sami, a Poodle-Bichon mix, were brought together in canine matrimony in a special ceremony at Hope Hospice in Bonita Springs.

Anne Haxter, a long-time volunteer and trainer for the Hope Pet Visitor program, created the event as a way to bring patients and families together for an afternoon of smiles, laughter and joy. “We’re original as far as we know,” says Haxter of the doggy nuptials. “And we have a lot of fun. Everyone does; the patients, families and even the staff really get into it.”

At Sami and Smiley’s wedding, the veiled bride donned a gown and a garter, the bridesmaids wore purple, and the groom and ushers did their best to keep their tuxes on.

“One woman asked her husband to bring her a really nice blouse for the occasion. Well, he brought her a white one, and she said, “I can’t wear white, the bride is!” recalls Haxter, who has organized two such weddings over the past two years.

With patients, families and furry friends in attendance for the ceremony, the celebration went beyond the standing room only crowd in the community room.

“We tied dog food cans to the back of a dog buggy, hung a sign that said, “Just Married,” and did a parade to the other patients’ rooms who couldn’t come to the ceremony,” said Haxter.

From a wedding cake decorated with paw prints to a second cake baked just for the dogs, the volunteers were totally committed to making the celebration a grand experience for everyone in Hope’s care.

Friday, July 19, 2013

10 Ways to Help Your Aging Neighbor


  1. Introduce Yourself and Visit Often
    Share emergency contact information. Find out if your neighbor has local caregivers. If you notice that mail and newspapers aren't being picked up, check on them.
  2. Offer Help with Meals
    Go grocery shopping for a neighbor or share a family dinner. Malnutrition is a common problem and may result in confusion, disorientation, and apathy.
  3. Provide transportation to a doctor’s appointment
  4. Help with Lawn Care
    If grass looks overgrown, offer to mow. Refer your neighbor to local teens who may trim bushes or pull weeds at a lower cost than professional lawn services.
  5. Watch out for Scams
    Don’t let your neighbor get taken by a con artist. Report suspicious activity to your local law enforcement agency.
  6. Home Maintenance Help
    Offer to change lightbulbs, install grab bars, or paint.
  7. Personal Care
    Take your elderly neighbor to get a haircut or, if they’re homebound, have a hair stylist come to their homes.
  8. Look for Pet Neglect
    As elderly neighbors lose mobility, pets may suffer. Walk their pets; help with grooming.
  9. Just Listen
    Loneliness and isolation are often associated with depression in the elderly. Invite your neighbor for a short walk around the block. Exercise relieves stress and opens the door for conversations.
  10. Find Community Services
    Consider if your neighbor needs additional help. Hope has programs that allow seniors to stay safely in their own homes. Call us at (800) 835-1673 or share our phone number with your neighbor

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Celebrating New Friendships - Wings of Hope, Summer 2013

In this issue:
  • That's What Friends Are For
    Our patients reap the benefits of social connections
  • There's No Place Like Home
    We help the aging and seriously ill to stay comfortably at home
  • Tying the Leash
    A dog wedding entertains patients and visitors at Joanne's House
  • Photos
    Bonita Spring Luncheon, Mother's Day at Hospice House, Hope Volunteers at Twins Spring Training

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Giving Back: Become a Volunteer

Meaningful, gratifying, rewarding. The volunteers at Hope Hospice report immeasurable rewards from the experience of helping others at the end of life.

Many of our volunteers were introduced to Hope through the loss of a loved one, so they have firsthand knowledge of our philosophy. They will tell you that hospice is not about giving up. Instead, it’s about living each day to the fullest.

Our volunteers are important members of the hospice interdisciplinary team. Our care is not just about medical needs; we focus on each individual’s emotional, social and spiritual concerns. We also provide care to all friends and family members, recognizing that a serious illness affects not only the patient, but their loved ones as well. Volunteers help us to provide holistic, comforting care on a very personal level.

To ensure that hospice volunteers are well equipped to assist others at the end of life, we provide a day-long orientation session and regular follow-ups with volunteer mentors. Each volunteer is also assigned to a Hope staff member (Volunteer Coordinator), who can further guide them in their journey.

Hope’s volunteer opportunities are located throughout our southwest Florida service area, and volunteers are free to choose activities and opportunities that best suit their interests. Additional specialized training may be required for some volunteers, including pet visitors, bereavement callers or members of the Hope Honor Guard.

Apply to be a Hope volunteer