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About Alive Hospice

Lean on us when heartbreak and healing go hand in hand.
About Alive Hospice Nashville TN.

Ashley’s Voice Outreach Group
Would you like to ask questions about Hospice – Ashley’s Voice Outreach – 615-673-2221

Alive Hospice Nashville TN

Alive Hospice is a nonprofit organization that provides compassionate end-of-life care, palliative care, bereavement support and community education. Founded in Middle Tennessee in 1975, Alive Hospice is accredited by The Joint Commission and has held its Gold Seal of Approval for many years. It is also accredited by the National Institute for Jewish Hospices.

Alive Hospice entered the Middle Tennessee landscape in November 1975, only one year after the founding of the first hospice program in the United States. At the time, and through grassroots movements, other hospices also began appearing across the country. Like the group of individuals gathered together by Alive Hospice’s founders, Dr. David Barton and the late Dr. John Flexner, what unified those movements was compassionate people committed to helping patients live in comfort until death occurred and families to grieve with support.

Alive Hospice was chartered in 1975 as a nonprofit organization dedicated with three core goals: providing comprehensive care for terminally ill patients and their families; offering support for grieving adults and children; and serving the community as a center for research and education.

Today, Alive Hospice serves more than 3,600 patients and their families annually (more than 430 daily) and provides grief support services for nearly 600 adults and children in Middle Tennessee in addition to training for tomorrow’s caregivers and education for the community at large.


Our mission

We provide loving care to people with life-threatening illnesses, support to their families

and service to the community in a spirit of enriching lives.

Our vision

To be recognized as expert providers of hospice care, palliative care, management of

advanced disease and grief support and to be the agency of choice for the provision of

these services.

To be recognized as innovators and leaders in all aspects of end-of-life resources.
To influence the perceptions within the community and among medical professionals so

that the end of life is accepted as a meaningful component of the human experience.

Our values

We believe death to be a natural part of life’s journey.

We believe in honesty and integrity in all we say and do.

We believe in compassion to those we serve and to each other.

We believe in respect and dignity for all.

We value competent knowledgeable staff motivated to achieve personal and

professional growth.

We believe in accountability to society, our community and each other.

We believe in responsible stewardship of the resources with which we have been entrusted.

We believe in the continuous pursuit of organizational excellence.

We believe in teamwork to achieve our vision and mission, and to support our values.

Statement of Inclusiveness

As the only not-for-profit, community-based hospice in Middle Tennessee, Alive Hospice never turns anyone away, regardless of ability to pay, insurance status, race, religion, creed, color, sex, age, national origin, veteran status, sexual orientation, or disability.  We live our mission to provide loving care to people with life-threatening illnesses, support to their families, and service to the community in a spirit of enriching lives.

Funeral Decisions

Making Funeral Decisions

The Right Funeral Choices are hard to Make

When a loved one dies, there are plenty of decisions that will have to be made by his or her family. A potentially overwhelming number, in fact. It is a sad fact of the nursing profession that one of the most dreaded duties that a caretaker will have to perform is to ask the following question: “Which funeral home would you like us to call to make arrangements for the body?” That question carries with it a ton (actually several tons) of stress and grief that can come pouring upon a family member who has lost his or her beloved. And it just the first of a string of important decisions that must be made – often within a half hour or less. This article aims to help families be ready for that question and all the others that will follow it over the course of the next few days (or even weeks).

The easy way to make Funeral Decisions:

The best and easiest way to make funeral decisions is to take the time to plan things well in advance. Experts in a variety of fields — from psychology to financial planning to, of course, funeral planning — will all tell you that elders in a family owe it to their own piece of mind (as well of that of their loved ones) to make sure their final arrangements are planned, down to the very last detail and very last dollar, well before the time of need. And the experts all go on to say that it’s never too early to make these arrangements. Though people in their 20s rarely can be found to consider, and communicate, what should happen to their remains in the event of an untimely death, doing so can be a healthy experience. It is a practice of good stewardship to write one’s wishes and plans in detail and store the document in a very secure place known to several in the family. The very first sentence of this document would do well to answer the question that no nurse will ask out of eagerness: which funeral home should we call.

How to Decide who should make the Funeral Decisions:

But, even in the case in which a funeral has been planned in advance of need, there will still be at least a few details left uncovered. The deceased may have thoroughly explained his or her desire to be cremated or burried, or what to do with the cremation ashes, to scattering the ashes across various part of the state in which he lived or to have a water or ocean ash scattering. But, at the same time, she might have likely neglected to say which exactly which relatives should be mentioned by name in the obituary, or who should be asked to be a pall bearer at the open casket service he requested.

The questions, nevertheless, must be answered by someone.

The best way to do this is to organize an emergency family meeting (via telephone or video conference call, if need be) within 12-24 hours after a death. Whoever takes the lead in arranging the meeting should be prepared to also be selected the family’s spokesperson in dealing with the professionals who will be helping plan the funeral. But this person should not presume this selection in advance of the meeting. The most important item of business in this meeting would be to achieve a consensus about just who has the authority to speak for the family. In most cases, this authority need not necessarily be in writing, but, in the event a family has a history of litigiousness or even just a history of fairly routine strife, it might not be a bad idea to ask all present to sign a statement of some sort. A simple one or two sentence page will probably suffice in all but the most contentious of cases.

Establishing a Consensus:

Selecting a person to be the spokesperson for a family can greatly help in handing arrangmentsOnce a spokesperson has been selected, it then becomes his or her responsibility to be a democratic leader, taking all opinions and ideas into consideration before making any final decision. It is important for this leader to remember that his or her selection is not necessarily a license to plan things his way. Such an attitude could be detrimental to the long term healing of grief for many family members who have entrusted him or her to speak for them.

Consensus must always be the goal.

What to do in the event of Major Disagreements:

In the event of major disagreements over how to make funeral decisions for a loved one, the leader who has been selected as spokesperson for the family should consider adopting a humble spirit for the sake of harmony and consensus. That’s what any good leader would do, in fact.

A case in point:

One woman in Texas was selected as the family spokesperson after the death of her husband who had left conflicting instructions regarding his choice of burial versus cremation. Being a frugal woman, the wife’s first inclination was to simply have her husband quickly cremated and ask various family members to scatter portions of them over various parts of the United States in the coming months. This had been the wish of her recently departed brother-in-law, and her husband had always seemed glad for the opportunity to participate in that type of memorial. And besides, this decision was going to save thousands of dollars off the cost of her husband’s memorial service, a ceremony that, it was clear, she would be paying for almost entirely.

Families often have to make hard personal decisions in planning funeralsWhen the woman mentioned these plans to family members, she immediately began to sense that several were uncomfortable with it. For emotional reasons, these family members gradually expressed to her over the next day or so that they preferred to have their beloved relative buried in a traditional grave marked with a headstone that they could come and visit many times over the course of the rest of their lives.

The woman knew that honoring these desires would add thousands of dollars to her expenses, and it went against her spirit of economy and frugality.

But she conceded anyway.

Allowing this emotional blessing to her fellow family members who loved her husband as much as she did was simply the right thing to do, she decided.

Consensus, in the end, was worth much more than frugality. And that is often the case, families find, when they get down to the business of making funeral decisions.

Need help? Email us Info@AshleysVoice.Com

__________________________

Ashley’s Voice
Ashley McCaskill Zellars
http://AshleysVoice.com

 

Grief and the Burden of Guilt

Grief and the Burden of Guilt

Guilt is perhaps the most painful companion of death. ~ Coco Chanel 

Guilt is a normal response to the perception that we’ve somehow failed in our duties and obligations or that we’ve done something wrong. It generates a jumbled mixture of feelings including doubt, shame, inadequacy, insecurity, failure, unworthiness, self judgment and blame, anxiety and fear of punishment.

 When your loved one’s terminal illness was finally diagnosed, as a caregiver you may feel guilty that you hadn’t noticed symptoms sooner, waited too long to seek treatment or didn’t do enough to comfort your beloved. If death came suddenly or unexpectedly, you may feel guilty for not being present when it happened. If it came after a long, lingering illness, you may feel guilty for feeling relieved that your loved one’s suffering is over and you’re now free from the burden of worry and care. You may feel guilty that you are the one who survived, or uncomfortable that you received an insurance settlement or inheritance following the death of your loved one. If you’re a religious person, you may feel guilty that you feel so angry at God.

Unfortunately, guilt is a natural and common component of grief. When someone you love dies, it’s only human to search for an explanation, to look at what you did or did not do, to dwell on the what if’s and if only’s. You agonize and tell yourself, “If only I’d done something differently, this never would’ve happened.” Sometimes, though, there simply isn’t anything you could have done differently. When your loved one’s illness or death occurred, chances are that whatever happened beforehand was not intentional on your part. In the wise words of internationally known author and publisher Louise Hay, we do the best we can with our understanding at the time, and when we know better, we do better. Given the stress you were under at the time and how exhausted you may have been, you were doing the best you could. You were basing whatever you did on what you knew, given the information available to you then.

Harsh as it may seem, consider that even if you had done things differently, your loved one still could have died in some other way at some other time! Sometimes we act as if we can control the random hazards of existence, even when we know that death is a fact of life.

Guilt is driven by our own personal beliefs and expectations, and dealing with it requires that we examine what we think we did wrong, face it and evaluate it as objectively as possible. For example, what did you expect of yourself that you did not live up to? Were your expectations unrealistic? If they were, then you need to let go of them. Since you did all that you were capable of doing at the time, there simply is no basis for your guilt, and you need to let go of that as well.

Nevertheless, if after careful examination of the facts, you find that your expectations of yourself are legitimate and you still did not live up to them, it’s important to face and take responsibility for what you believe you could have done differently. Healthy guilt allows us to own up to and learn from our mistakes. It gives us a chance to make amends, to do things differently next time, to come to a better understanding of ourselves, to forgive ourselves and move on.

Tips for Coping with Guilt

Identify what it is that you feel guilty about. Resist the urge to keep such thoughts and feelings to yourself like so many deep, dark secrets. Bring them out into the open where they can be examined. Share them with a trusted friend or counselor, who can view your thoughts and feelings more objectively, and challenge what may be irrational or illogical.

Listen to the messages you give yourself (the should haves, could haves and if only’s), and realize the past is something you can do absolutely nothing about.

When guilty thoughts come to mind, disrupt them by telling yourself to stop thinking such thoughts. Say “STOP!” firmly, and out loud if you need to.

Live the next day or next week of your life as if you were guilt-free, knowing you can return to your guilt feelings any time you wish. Pick a start time, and stop yourself whenever you make any guilt-related statements.

Write down your guilt-related statements, set a date, and pledge that from that day forward, you won’t say them to yourself anymore. Post them and read them every day.

If you are troubled by feeling relieved that your loved one’s suffering has ended, know that a heavy burden has been lifted from your shoulders; you have been released from an emotionally exhausting and physically draining experience, and to feel relieved is certainly understandable.

If you believe in God or a higher power, consider what He or She has to say about forgiveness.

Participate in a support group — it’s a powerful way to obtain forgiveness and absolution from others.

Be your own best friend. What would you have said to your best friend if this had happened to that person? Can you say the same to yourself?

∙ Remember the good things you did in your relationship with your loved oneand all the loving care you gave. Focus on the positive aspects: what you learned from each other, what you did together that brought you joy, laughter and excitement. Write those things down, hold onto them and read them whenever you need to.

Ask what you expected of yourself that you didn’t live up to. How is it that you didn’t? What were the circumstances at the time? What have you learned from this that you’ll do differently next time?

What can you do to make amends? Find a way to genuinely apologize to your loved one’s spirit and ask for forgiveness.

Have a visit with your loved one. Say aloud or in your mind whatever you didn’t get to say while your loved one was still living. Be as honest as you can be.

Have your loved one write a letter to you. What would this person say to you about the guilt and sadness you’ve been carrying around?

Ask what it would take for you to forgive yourself. Can you begin doing it? Say out loud to yourself, “I forgive you.” Say it several times a day.

Remember that no one else can absolve your feelings of guilt—only you can do so, through the process of intentionally forgiving yourself.

When you’ve consciously learned all you can learn from this situation, and when you’ve made any amends you consider necessary, then it’s time to let go of your guilt, to forgive yourself, and to move on.

Channel the energy of your guilt into a worthwhile project. Do good deeds in your loved one’s honor.

Difference Between Alzheimer’s and Dementia

Please be an advocate for other caregivers that are assisting loved ones with Alzheimer’s or Dementia. Add your comments to this post or let us connect to your posts.

Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are often used interchangeably as many people believe  that one means the other. In fact, the distinction between the two diseases often causes confusion on the behalf of patients, families and caregivers. Discover how the two diagnoses, while related, are remarkably different.
What Is The Difference Between Alzheimer’s and Dementia?

Alzheimer’s and dementia are still a mystery in many ways. This is why the two similar diseases are often mixed up in every day conversation and understanding. According to the National Institute on Aging (NIA), Dementia is a brain disorder that affects communication and performance of daily activities and Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia that specifically affects parts of the brain that control thought, memory and language.

Read on to discover more particulars on how the two diseases vary and why there’s still a lot of scientific research needed—as well as public awareness—around these world-wide epidemics.

What is dementia?

Dementia is an umbrella term for a set of symptoms including impaired thinking and memory. It is a term that is often associated with the cognitive decline of aging. However, issues other than Alzheimer’s can cause dementia. Other common causes of dementia are Huntington’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

What is Alzheimer’s Disease?

According to the Center for Disease Control, Alzheimer’s disease is a common cause of dementia causing as many as 50 to 70% of all dementia cases. In fact, Alzheimer’s is a very specific form of dementia. Symptoms of Alzheimer’s include impaired thought, impaired speech, and confusion. Doctors use a variety of screenings to determine the cause of dementia including blood tests, mental status evaluations and brain scans.

How Are They Different?

When a person is diagnosed with dementia, they are being diagnosed with a set of symptoms. This is similar to someone who has a sore throat. Their throat is sore but it is not known what is causing that particular symptom. It could be allergies, strep throat, or a common cold. Similarly, when someone has dementia they are experiencing symptoms without being told what is causing those symptoms.

Another major difference between the two is that Alzheimer’s is not a reversible disease. It is degenerative and incurable at this time. Some forms of dementia, such as a drug interaction or a vitamin deficiency, are actually reversible or temporary.

Once a cause of dementia is found appropriate treatment and counseling can begin. Until a proper diagnosis is made, the best approach to any dementia is engagement, communication and loving care.

The Need for More Public Awareness and Research Funding

While the differences between Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are clear to families dealing with the diseases, more public awareness is needed to differentiate between the two. Further understanding of what exactly causes Alzheimer’s disease will help to clear any confusion and hopefully lead to better treatments plans and, ultimately, a cure.

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