Community Care – Judy’s Story

At the age of 56, Judy Caetano was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) was introduced to St. Joseph’s Hospice. Judy and her mother, Olinda, expressed the wish to have a Hospice Volunteer Visitor to provide regular companionship. Our staff went to work on finding a compatible volunteer and matched Jen, a retired epidemiologist and researcher.

Volunteer Visiting is a very rewarding experience. You build relationships and friendships and I feel I gain as much if not more than our clients, said Jen MacNab, Volunteer Visitor.

Judy, Jen and family
Judy and her visitor volunteer, Jen MacNab (featured left)

“Volunteer Visiting is a very rewarding experience. You build relationships and friendships and I feel I gain as much if not more than our clients,”

Jen MacNab, Volunteer Visitor

From the very beginning, Judy and Jen ‘clicked’. During the warm months, they enjoy shopping, going to movies and taking in the beautiful weather. During the winter, they have become self-professed “movie critics” enjoying the latest Oscar winners and partaking in Hospice programs such as horticultural therapy and community meals. While Judy and Jen are out on adventurous excursions, Olinda, as the main caregiver, is able to attend to personal appointments and enjoy Hospice wellness programs such as massage and nail care at no cost.

Unfortunately, due to arthritis pain, Olinda is no longer able to walk with their family dog, Murphy, and called St. Joseph’s Hospice to see if we could help. Our Client Services Coordinator connected the family with Jadwiga, a Hospice volunteer since 2006, who was happy to help ease the burden by taking care of Murphy.

Judy, Jen and the dog Murphy
Judy, Jen and Murphy the dog

Hospice’s Volunteer Visiting Program is here to help the whole family including the individual living with a terminal illness, their caregivers and pets, shares Client Services Coordinator, Janet Belchamber. Sometimes it takes a village to provide the individualized care that is needed but we are very fortunate to work with compassionate, giving and thoughtful volunteers who selflessly give their time and energy to help others in our community.