What is your name and where do you live?
Barbette Bieber, Lansdale.
How long have you been working with hospice patients?
I have been volunteering at Ascend Hospice since 2005.
How many times a week/month do you volunteer?
I try to volunteer at least once a month or more. It can vary.
Why did you decide to enroll in the program?
When my parents and grandparents were alive I loved spending time with them. Once they passed, I felt a void. I saw an advertisement for volunteer training at the Lansdale Library. Since it was so close, I decided to go, especially since they were looking for people with reiki experience, and I have that skill. I love to visit nursing homes and enjoy visiting the elderly, so I thought this would be a great fit for me, and I thought this would be a way to help me feel needed.
What does your work involve?
For people who are close to death, I sit with them in what is called the “11th Hour Program”. Many times these people have no family, and I feel so honored to be able to share this time with them doing reiki, maybe holding their hand and letting them know they are not alone. We are also there for the family in their time of sadness. This too has been truly a wonderful experience for me.
What have you learned from the experience?
I learned people do need other people like our volunteers to be there for them in their time of need—holding their hand or just listening to what they have to say makes their day and my day as well. I may be having the worst day when I go see my people, but they make my day so much better. I have met so many lovely people through the years and would never trade it for the world—they are all a true blessing to me.
For more information about Ascend Hospice’s volunteer program, call 866-821-1212.