Gilchrist Ambassadors: Educating the Community About End-of-Life Issues
Gilchrist Ambassadors are able to speak about end-of-life, elder care and other issues that are important to people with serious illness. The U.S. medical system is designed to prolong life. But for many people, quality of life matters more than longevity. Research tells us that most people with serious illness want:
- Easily understood information to make better treatment decisions
- To avoid being an emotional and financial burden to their family and caregivers
- To choose how they want to die: with dignity, surrounded by loved ones, on their own terms
Until we’re forced to, many of us never give more than a passing thought to our own mortality. In fact, only 50% of Americans have done any sort of end-of-life planning. When you consider the fact that the largest generation we’ve ever seen—the Baby Boomers—are entering their golden years, we should be talking about the subject a lot more.
Gilchrist Ambassadors Talk About End-of-Life Issues
Gilchrist is spearheading efforts to educate the community about end-of-life issues with our Ambassadors program. Through the program, trained volunteers represent Gilchrist in the community and speak about elder care, end-of-life and bereavement issues. They are available to speak on topics such as how hospice can help people with serious illness, creating a living will/advance directive to make your care wishes known, finding support for caregivers, and grief support.
Where Ambassadors Present
These educational opportunities are free and can be presented to groups and organizations such as senior centers, nursing homes, faith communities, businesses (for example, corporate lunch & learns), and even schools. Our ambassadors recently met with students at Pikesville High School. While teenagers aren’t our typical target demographic, the experience was rewarding for everyone involved. We received this note from the club’s sponsoring teacher:
“Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to speak to the Medical Explorers club! Your presentation thoroughly educated our members on what hospice entails, and about the amazing support Gilchrist can provide. We all enjoyed your talk, which was meaningful. One of the students told me that your presentation was so inspirational, they’d like to become a volunteer. Thank you for all that you do!”
We are grateful for the opportunity to provide this education. If you’d like to have a Gilchrist Ambassador speak at your community event, or if you’d like to become a Gilchrist Ambassador yourself, contact Jane O’Hara, Volunteer Recruitment Coordinator, at email@example.com or 443-849-8376. Or learn more about other volunteer opportunities at Gilchrist by visiting our volunteer page.