As a young girl in junior choir, Lucy Haddock would sing at nursing homes. As she got older and had children of her own, she took them to visit nursing homes, too.
“I always had a calling toward older people and thought I’d like to volunteer in that area when my kids were older,” says Lucy.
Ten years ago, that opportunity presented itself in a newspaper blurb about a new hospice in the Atlanta area that was looking for volunteers. Lucy called the number and has been volunteering with Crossroads Hospice ever since.
One of her early patients was a woman interested in birds and flowers, which Lucy also enjoys. One day, Lucy was chatting and the woman said, “Okay, you can leave now.”
Lucy laughed and went on her way, noting it as a lesson to pay attention to the patient and their needs. If they are tired and want you to leave, you leave. They went on to have many lovely visits after that.
She also spent time with a minister’s wife who loved to sing. Lucy made songbooks of her favorite hymns for the patient and her friends, and they would all get together in the dining room to sing.
An avid gardener, she became known for bringing bouquets of flowers on her visits that were the envy of other residents, so she learned to keep jelly jars handy to make small arrangements for anyone who wanted one.
“Each person I visited was really different,” Lucy explains, “You have to consider each person as an individual. People are remarkable. I enjoy sharing experiences with them…learning what they used to do, what they miss. You get to help them as they move into another adventure at the end of their lives.”
Lucy’s friends often asked her how she could work with dying patients.
“When I explain what hospice really is … that these are mostly older people and you’re helping them deal with the situation and helping their family, they begin to understand that everyone isn’t sitting around the office crying. We’re making everyone more comfortable.”
About a year ago, Lucy fell and broke her leg. She has since recovered and now works in our office, helping put together packets for the nurses and emotional support staff.
“Word has gotten out since I started 10 years ago,” she says. “The staff has tripled or quadrupled, so there is plenty to do. It is important to feel needed and appreciated and everyone is so kind at Crossroads that I always leave with a smile.”
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