Congratulations to Holy Family Hospice volunteer Laura Peltz (pictured here with Jim Busch) who is recognized as Caregiver of the Month by Busch Funeral and Crematory Services. Busch appreciates the hard work of individuals in the community who take on caregiver responsibilities. Although every caregiver’s responsibilities may vary, their dedication remains constant.
“I have always felt a strong calling to be a ‘companion on the journey’ with others,” admits Laura. “I suppose that is what led me to becoming a Holy Family Hospice volunteer. I gained a lot of skills companioning others in my years of parish work. I feel it is one of the gifts God has graced me with – empathy and good listening skills. I knew of Holy Family Hospice due to my work in the Diocese, but it wasn’t until I retired and saw an ad for volunteers in my parish bulletin at St. Michael in Independence that I felt called to consider it.”
Over the course of the last two and a half years, Laura has spent countless hours with a number of patients, both at Holy Family Home and out in the community. She says the first visit to a new patient is a combination of excitement and cautious optimism. “I always pray to the Holy Spirit before any visit to help me be attentive to the needs of the person I am visiting. I usually begin by introducing myself as a Holy Family volunteer who has been looking forward to meeting them.”
One of the assignments she accepted was to visit Margie, a resident at Mount Alverna in Parma, whom she visited every Tuesday for nine months. “From our first visit Margie could never communicate verbally,” Laura shares. “She also was very limited in using her hands (just jerking motions that were not intentional). She could not hold her head up and most of the time her eyes were closed. But Margie and I communicated from day one – she would open her eyes briefly when a song was played that she particularly liked. I would pray and sing to her and massage her hands. Some of the best days were when she looked directly at me and smiled – in those brief moments I knew we connected in a deeper way.”
The time Laura spent with Margie energized her. “I could go in on any given day and be tired or stressed but when I left I was energized and upbeat. My visits with her were grounding. The 90 minutes we were together seemed to fly by. Margie helped me to slow down and enjoy and live in the moment. As a volunteer I would say that visiting with Margie affirmed my role as being part of the hospice team.”
“Thank you so much to the staff at Busch for honoring me with this recognition. I am blessed to be able to serve Holy Family in this capacity and I look forward to continuing to help our patients in their final journey.”
If you are interested in becoming a Holy Family Hospice volunteer, please contact the Volunteer Manager at 440-866-6017 or apply online at www.staugministries.org/volunteer.