November is National Hospice Month and National Family Caregiver Month. As a provider of hospice services, we are intimately involved in the day-to-day lives of many caregivers, both personal and professional, and know the challenges and rewards of their roles.
Caregiving is hard work. And, for those who unwittingly find themselves in this role, it can be overwhelming and daunting. They are daughters, husbands, parents, and dear friends who care for their loved ones; strangers down the street; and people who just show up to help. Like those for whom they are unexpectedly caring, they are often uncertain -- but they give anyway.
Some caregivers are following their professional callings, while others are extraordinary, trained volunteers. All of them are urgently needed -- and they are rising to the challenge.
As a partner on this journey with caregivers, Hospice of the Red River Valley is blessed to offer the tenderness, confidence and skills of a medical team, nurses, social workers, chaplains and volunteers. They offer comfort and guidance, compassion and hope, and support to help lighten the heavy load.
They are often hailed as angels and held in justifiably high esteem for the sensitive, demanding work they have chosen. We are often told, our patients' families could not do without them.
Neither, however, could we do without the family caregivers who are, too often, the real unsung heroes of hospice care. They are the ones who alter their lives, set aside their plans, accept responsibilities for which they often feel totally unprepared, in order to honor the end-of-life wishes of people they love. They are the ones, after all, who are there around the clock, tending, comforting, doing. They are the ones we teach and support in their caregiver roles. They are the ones with the most sleepless nights, the most tears -- and the greatest blessings for what they do.
This November, we are thankful for our abundant blessings and community support. We are honored to walk alongside both personal and professional caregivers on life's journey.
Please join us in recognizing and celebrating National Hospice Month and National Family Caregiver Month. We salute caregivers for their selfless actions. -- Susan Fuglie, executive director, Hospice of the Red River Valley