Woman’s best friend? Two dogs and the chance to brighten a hospice patient’s day.
“I encourage anyone who has the time to give to get out there and make a difference in someone’s life. It will make such a positive difference in your own life.”
Maryann Yeager has a volunteer’s heart. Over the years, she has volunteered in nursing homes, shared spiritual ministry in prison facilities and now is sharing her gift of caring support with Paradigm Health’s hospice patients. Whether it is taking the time to hold a hand, be an engaged listener or just to offer support for a patient that day, Yeager is “all in” when it comes to her commitment to the patients she visits with.
“I am probably out four or five days a week visiting with patients,” shares Yeager. “Most times, I bring along my two dogs — a Greyhound rescue and a Yorkie — and quite honestly the patients are as happy to see them as they are to have a visit from me.”
If you knew Yeager, you would find that hard to believe. Her warm smile, kind eyes and physical beauty is a perfect match for her inner beauty, spirit and strength. And, she is a busy woman even beyond her volunteer work. At 83 she still works with her family’s businesses, takes care of her two dogs, is involved in her church, loves to be in her flower garden, and is still cooking big family dinners for her four sons and their families. With four sons, eight grandchildren and six great grandchildren to say she stays busy would be an understatement. She’s a woman on the move and “helping” seems to be second nature for her.
“Even around the holidays when we are all so busy, Maryann was making sure none of her patients were alone and going above and beyond to make sure they all felt valued and cared for,” says Rockea Bell, volunteer coordinator for Paradigm Health. “I’ve seen how her patients light up when she comes to visit them, and it really speaks to her ability to connect and enrich their lives.”
Being in tune to what each patient needs or wants from their visit is something Yeager pays attention to. Some of her patients just like to pet and be soothed by her dogs, others are searching for a caring touch and others may want to share a spiritual verse with her or revisit a time from their past.
“I know people say that volunteering is a rewarding and gratifying piece of life and I agree with that,” says Yeager. “I know that I probably get more out of the experience than those I am visiting do. I encourage anyone who has the time to give to get out there and make a difference in someone’s life. It will make such a positive difference in your own life. I can’t imagine my own life being complete without being a volunteer.”
Paradigm Health volunteers are an essential part of our care teams. As an invaluable resource, they bring a friendly smile, warm conversation, a hand to hold or offer a welcome respite family. To learn more about becoming a Paradigm Health volunteer, visit our Volunteer page.