My name is Patty Waters and I’ve been a Visiting Volunteer with Home Hospice North Lanark since April 2022.  I also volunteer with Almonte Civitan, Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists, the Almonte Beautification Committee, and am a member of Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust, Legion Branch 192 (Captain A. Roy Brown), a book club, and enjoy square dancing with the Mississippi Squares as well as playing mahjong through Carebridge.

Yes, I live a very busy life but I am happy and being retired, I want to get as much out of a day as I can!  When I have time to enjoy my husband’s and my 3 cats’ company or veg in front of the tv for a few hours, I take advantage of it.  I find rejuvenation by tree bathing (that is walking in a forest or wilderness), meditating and playing solitaire.

I have had the great fortune of being a Visiting Volunteer and so far, have had two clients.  The first client and spouse were a wonderful match for me and I was very sorry when they moved out of the area.  As the spouse also had illnesses, chatting with both made me realize that I was helping both people!  We met every second week and simply sat and talked. If something was needed, I did my best to figure out a way to help. 

My second client is someone I am still getting to know but it’s so reassuring when this person is happy to see me when I visit.  I try to keep mental notes on my client’s pets, activities, sports,  and life’s joys prior to becoming ill, so that I can refer back and ask questions about them. We meet every week at lunch and the day prior to my visit, I confirm my intent to visit with my client’s spouse.  Again, this is a good match of personalities and I am grateful for it.

We talk about all kinds of things and knowing what illnesses are affecting my client helps immensely.  I should note that pets are huge conversation starters as many people are happy to reflect and talk about current and past pets.

It’s an interesting and gratifying position to be able to go into people’s homes or into a ward at the hospital, to have the time to get to know someone whom I wouldn’t normally have contact with and who appreciates our getting to know each other.  I’m also aware that one day things won’t look as rosy.  How will I handle that?  Well, fortunately, HHNL has wonderful Program Coordinators who are available if I am concerned or unsure about something.  With HHNL’s training I feel that I will be able to help with my client’s needs, as well as the family’s.  

Am I concerned that I may not be perfect?  Yes, but I will do my best with what I have been taught and having had the experience of being present when my sister died three years ago.  She is the reason I joined Home Hospice North Lanark.  I have always felt that it’s wrong when someone dies alone — there should always be some kind of comforting way a person can help.