Caring for a loved one with a terminal illness can be extremely difficult on family members and friends. It is for this reason that Jeaneen Roberts, Globe University-Eau Claire massage therapy instructor, has her Special Populations class coordinate a relaxation event for hospice caretakers each quarter. Jeaneen feels that it is important to give back to the community, especially to those who are caring for their ill family members.
Recently, massage therapy students held the spring event on campus. Invited are caretakers from the St. Joseph’s Hospice Program that are currently taking care of a family member as well as those who have taken care of a family member that has passed away.
The most recent event was held on campus and caretakers were invited to enjoy a relaxing massage of their choice. As part of the event, students prepared food and hot tea, while soothing music played in the waiting room.
Jennifer Binczak, a Bereavement Social Worker, helped promote the event and scheduled massage appointments for the attendees. Jennifer is extremely grateful that students put on this event each quarter. “Often caregivers are the last to be taken care of and do not do much of anything for themselves. I think it is important for our caretakers to take a little time to relax.”
For this particular event, student Stephanie Pusateri, created memory jars and eye pillows that were offered as gifts to all hospice caregivers who attended.
She reflected, “I have been involved in hospice care myself, and I understand how difficult it can be for caretakers. When you are going through such a tough time, it is often hard to recall all of the good times in your life. I created the memory jars so the caregivers could reflect on all of the happy memories that they have had with their loved ones.”
Reflections on the Caregiver Event
Massage therapy student Edward Cloutier II found the project to be extremely rewarding. “I really enjoyed hosting this event because it allowed us to give back to a sector of the population that oftentimes don’t take time out for themselves to relax.”
Briana Benn commented, “I really enjoyed this applied learning project. We created a comfortable environment for the caregivers, and they were able to enjoy a relaxing massage to help relieve them of their stress and pain that they have been going through.”
“All those involved in hospice are going through a lot. Receiving a massage can be beneficial in many ways as it helps reduce stress and can also help you deal with your feelings,” reflected Billy McClain.
Attendees were so appreciative of the event. As one caregiver left, she commented with tears in her eyes, “Thank you for putting on this event. I feel so special and appreciated. You don’t even know how much this meant to me.”
Great job to our massage therapy students for hosting such a great event this past quarter.