Published on March 2, 2022
Hospice care is not "giving up" on your loved one
Meryl Taylor is a licensed social worker and Alive volunteer. She learned about hospice care and Alive, in particular, when she started her social work career in the ’90s, but her knowledge became personal when her husband entered Alive’s care in 2014. Now, she educates others on the special support that hospice care provides for both patients and their caregivers.
“Hospice services are not about giving up on your loved one, but about doing things in a way that provides a higher level of support for the patient and the caregiver. It can allow for a better end of life transition for the patient and family.”
How did you get involved with hospice care?
My awareness of hospice services, and specifically Alive Hospice, started in the early 90s, not long after I started my social work career. However, in November 2014, I had a personal experience with Alive Murfreesboro, when my husband entered services. I was his only caregiver and still working full-time in Nashville. It was a really challenging time and having hospice services made a huge difference in my ability to manage his care.
What do you want others to know about hospice care?
Hospice services are not about giving up on your loved one, but about doing things in a way that provides a higher level of support for the patient and the caregiver. It can allow for a better end-of-life transition for the patient and family.
“I think being able to talk about death in a healthy way makes life better for everyone… Whether it’s providing information regarding hospice services, or sitting with someone who is dying, I want to build connection with others, and that makes me happy.”
What makes hospice care special?
In my own experience, hospice care allowed me to focus more on my husband’s emotional needs and things that he wanted to do with the time that he had remaining.
“Before hospice entered the picture, I was driving him from our house to the hospital, and to medical appointments in Nashville, while trying to maintain my job and give him quality care. After Alive, he received care at home, and we were able to get questions answered or care changed more easily. This made both of us less stressed so that we were able to spend quality time with family and friends in his last few weeks of life.”
My husband was able to die at home, surrounded by his family, friends, and pets. It made a very hard situation bearable. As I was moving through the grief process, I found the information that I continued to receive from Alive helpful. I also met with a grief counselor a few times which was a really good experience.
Why do you volunteer with Alive?
I think volunteering is a good experience for everyone to have, and hospice is something I really believe in. I think being able to talk about death in a healthy way makes life better for everyone. I chose Alive because it is a non-profit organization, and that is also something that is important.
How does volunteering in hospice care make you feel?
I feel like I’m giving to my community and helping people through a natural, yet very difficult part of life. Whether it’s providing information regarding hospice services or sitting with someone who is dying, I want to build connections with others. That makes me happy.