For three years I was supported by Hospice SLO County

 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?”

We had recently moved to this area, and I didn’t know anyone. Thankfully, Hospice SLO County became the support system we needed. We received, at no cost, well-trained volunteers who would remain with us for three years. They became trusted friends and helpers for my husband. While they enjoyed time together, I received a much-needed break to get out for an hour to shop, to take a walk, or do NOTHING for a bit of time. While Bob could still get out safely, his main volunteer, Bill, took him on walks to enjoy nature or on rides to local places like Starbucks. Bill even helped me with minor things around the house since I was recovering from a dialysis port surgery.

Through the years, as Bob’s illnesses progressed, I joined and received helpful input from the Hospice SLO County’s Family Caregiver’s Support Group. During Bob’s final days, I got anticipatory grief counseling and many phone checkups. Bob died on September 7, 2019 (two years ago today from this writing). Bill came to see how I was doing and gave me resources to help. I was even able to get grief counseling as needed post-death.

I honestly don’t know what I would have done the first year or two if I hadn’t had Hospice SLO County’s assistance. They helped me mentally, physically, and spiritually while orienting and training me to care for dementia and Parkinson’s. The instruction and encouragement to do self-care, especially after my major surgery, was lifesaving for me.            

These services never cost us anything, and they did not bill our insurance. That is because generous people and institutions support this noble place, which is so needed in our community. That is why I became a GEM, giving every month so that the work can continue.

I hope our story has touched your heart. Many GEMS, at even small amounts, can make a difference in the quality of life for so many people who wouldn’t have help otherwise. Thank you if you are already a GEM. If not, please become a GEM and give what you can monetarily, and if the spirit moves you, maybe you can help in other ways as well. Thanks from both my husband and myself.

Kathleen Dana Haine