Hospice SLO County Blogs

Bill has been caring for his wife, Laura, who was diagnosed with dementia five years ago. Laura is now at the point where it is not safe for her to be left alone. Bill cannot take a break from caregiving and has no time to take care of his medical needs...

Esther was in her 90s and had lived independently until last December when she contracted COVID-19. While she recovered, she was weaker than before and seemed prone to more illness. Her daughter Sue* was spending more and more time with her mom and having to help her with more of her activities of daily living...

Your gift makes a difference in so many lives, including Laurie and David's.

Laurie works full time as the sole family provider and her husband David is undergoing treatments for cancer. David is often too weak to get out. One of our Hospice SLO County volunteers visits with him 1-2 times a week and calls in between times to provide companionship and practical help when Laurie is at work...

Many of our clients are elderly, on a fixed income, and live alone. For them, navigating finances and insurance can be challenging. At Hospice SLO County, we take away finance and insurance worries by offering our services free of charge. One phone call is all it takes to receive a plethora of support. 

Faith*, a widow with dementia, utilizes our In-Home and Pet Peace of Mind programs. She also receives Care Management assistance. Faith would not be able to afford these services from a private contractor...

In 2012, I experienced a loss that no parent should ever have to endure – the death of my beloved son Zachary. Zachary was a kind, loving, bundle of energy, who brought so much joy to those around him. But he struggled with mental illness and when he was 20 years old, he decided to end his life. In the months after Zachary died, I had no idea what to do. The support of my friends, family, and church brought great comfort and relief, but I didn’t know how to process my grief and I knew I wasn’t heading in a good direction...

Stella* resided in an assisted living facility when her health issues worsened and became terminal. Her doctor prescribed hospice care. She remained at the facility in familiar surroundings, with medical hospice providing comfort-focused care, equipment, and supplies to address the hospice diagnosis. The assisted living facility continued to provide non-hospice-related services...

Ron was referred to Hospice SLO County for companionship and practical assistance because his Parkinson’s disease was causing an increase in tremors and weakness...

Jim and Donna were married 42 years when they learned he had cancer. The diagnosis left them reeling. Treatment was recommended to start immediately...

February 4th is observed internationally as “World Cancer Day” to raise awareness of cancer symptoms, treatments, and advocacy. But what is often overlooked is the day-to-day experience of a cancer diagnosis: the shock of the initial diagnosis, the overwhelm of treatments, the unknown, the questions, and the physical and emotional support needed...

When Caroline first heard about Hospice SLO County in 2018, she wasn’t sure what to think. Her husband, Russell, had recently undergone hip replacement surgery and it was becoming clear that he would be wheelchair-bound moving forward. Until then, she had only ever thought of hospice as end-of-life care. Realizing the resources and support that were available even in the midst of Russell’s life-limiting illness changed everything...

At a December 2017 visit with his cardiologist to begin treating his peripheral artery disease, the doctor told my husband and me that a mass was seen on the CT scan he had ordered.  That was news I did not expect to hear.  We visited the Pulmonologist for a diagnosis (stage IV lung cancer) and then the Oncologist.  Soon we added a Radiation Oncologist to the team...

In 2018, I challenged myself to engage in an area of volunteer service that was outside my comfort zone. I enrolled as a volunteer with Hospice SLO County and received 30 hours of expert training in the methods and skills to serve in-home clients with terminal or severely life-limiting conditions. The excellent weekly sessions with over a dozen other trainees gradually built my confidence to the point that I felt I could support someone in need...

 I remember the day I realized my beloved husband Bob had dementia. He turned to me and asked, “Where’s the brake on this car?” ...

Twenty five years ago, I got a phone call that changed my life. It was a call telling me that my husband had died while he was away on a golfing trip. I was only fifty-two at the time and never thought that something like this would happen. At first I was surrounded by family and friends so I was distracted from the numbness and grief that I felt. After the funeral, my support group began to fade as each of them returned to their jobs and families...

Jeff owned a collection of surfboards and was often seen shredding the waves at Morro Rock with his son. Jeff also had a passion for mountain biking and chugged up sharp, steep trails like a locomotive. Jeff relished weeklong ski trips to Mammoth with his wife and children. Jeff was revered as a construction manager and was described by his peers as a robust, beautiful, and gracious man. Then catastrophe struck...

Roger is a Veteran who also worked in law enforcement. An injury on the job set him up for a life of chronic pain and a series of life-limiting illnesses, including kidney failure. His wife Andrea has been caring for him by herself but began to feel exhausted with little time to run errands, get her hair cut, or even attend to her own medical needs...

You hear Thank you for your support a lot from non-profits. But who you are supporting is not always clear. Every client at Hospice SLO County has a story. Here is a story that has touched our hearts...

Your dedicated donors help people like Faith, a widow, who was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia several years back. Faith has a long time Hospice SLO County in-home volunteer who helps her 4 hours per week and also a Pet Peace of Mind volunteer allowing her to keep her dog. Because she has complicated care needs, she also receives Care Management services from Hospice SLO County...

Caring for an ill or declining family member can be one of life’s most stressful experiences. “Tending is tiring,” says Roslyn Strohl, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist at Hospice of San Luis Obispo County. Roslyn points out that loss begins with the stress of caregiving. A life-limiting illness may force a couple to give up long-cherished retirement plans or working parents to focus less on their growing children. These losses are as real as a loss through death but are often discounted by society at large...

I am moved by the gratitude of the caregivers for what seems to be so little for me to give.

“Educating about end of life care and how each of us owes it not only to ourselves but also to our loved ones to make sure our wishes are thought out, expressed, and documented is a passion for me. Hospice SLO County offers assistance with accessing, understanding and completing Advance Healthcare Directives and POLST without charge. If you have an interest in getting started on the conversation, call (805) 544-2266.”

"You will not find a more worthy organization that holds up your community in the very worst of times at no charge to anyone, ever".

Hospice Threshold Singers has been a saving grace in my life. The group continues to grow under Ruth Baile’s compassionate, encouraging, committed leadership giving all of us a chance to sing at the bedside of people and pets on the threshold of their lives.

Concentrate on living in the moment every day rather than thinking your life may be coming to an end soon. Celebrate each day by doing something that brings you joy. Plan activities for the upcoming weeks and note your plans on your calendar. My doctors predicted I had about two months to live. That was nine months ago, and I am still enjoying my dream of being a writer.

As a Trauma/General Surgeon I’ve encountered many people near the end of their lives. I saw many deaths from tragedies. I am always amazed by how few people and their families are prepared for end-of-life issues. I saw how many people debilitated by disease and infirmity have exhausted their caregivers. I discovered how frequently getting sick and hospitalized led to a transition to a nursing home rather than going home because there just weren’t enough resources so that the patient could go back home.

For one year now I have given my time as an In-Home Volunteer with Hospice SLO. We focus on providing emotional comfort and companionship to our client, and respite care for the caregiver. I know personally that we as End-Of-Life Doulas make a difference to our client and to the family members. Recently one of my clients died and while I talked to her husband afterwards he expressed his thanks for knowing there was someone else who knew his wife, who cared about her, who sat beside her, and also was there for him as he needed to talk about her and his future without her.

"Hospice SLO County has made my disability much less impacting to me. It has freed me up to do other things that I can do and allowed me to have more energy to enjoy my life. It is a bright spot amongst my challenges" said Denise.

Grief is such a personal thing and a universal thing at the same time. Something I had found well-meaning friends at home could not entirely grasp. But here, at Hospice SLO, the playing field was leveled. I COULD TALK ABOUT THE LOSS OF MY SPOUSE, MY BEST FRIEND, MY CHOSEN LIFE PARTNER, AND CRY, knowing that my inner pain was understood and accepted.  We all shared a common loss.