Long-term hospice volunteers reflect on what volunteering meant to them

February 28, 2022

Alma Farmwald, Pat Lehman and Betty Mullet together have contributed more than 60 years of volunteer service with Goshen Home Care & Hospice.
"Our hospice team is deeply grateful for the years of service that Alma, Betty and Pat have given to our patients and their families," said Rachel Schertz, Goshen Home Care & Hospice Volunteer Coordinator. "We are so honored that each of these women has shared their gifts and talents to help us provide holistic care and improved quality of life at the end of life."
While each of the three were initially motivated by the prolonged illness and death of a loved one to start as hospice volunteers, each woman identified personal benefits of continuing to volunteer.
A volunteer since 2001, Pat Lehman has written down patient reminiscences, read to patients and even done laundry on occasion – whatever someone might need. Sometimes, Alzheimer's patients appreciate her simply sitting there and holding their hand.
"I've gotten to know many wonderful people," Lehman said. "It's an honor for me to spend time with them in their last days and to give respite to a family that needs a break from the constant care of their loved one."
Alma Farmwald, who began volunteering in 2000, retired from her healthcare career knowing she enjoyed working with the elderly. She believes misconceptions about hospice deter people from what could be a rewarding experience.
"It doesn't need to be a scary thing. You may be called to sit with a patient in their last days, but most of them have processed what is happening and are ready to move on," Farmwald said. "But it's life-giving and meaningful to me. It helps me process life and what I want to accomplish and leave as a legacy."
Betty Mullet retired from teaching and began volunteering in 2001. She was determined to help "every patient have a special friend or a restful day as they struggle with adjustments." Currently recovering from heart surgery, Mullet is reminded that everyone may need help in the future.
"I would tell new volunteers: You can never go wrong helping! I've had a lot more friends because of my volunteering," Mullet said. "Please help! You get good training, and if you have an able body and can help, you can be a blessing to others."
To learn more about volunteer opportunities, call Rachel Schertz, Goshen Home Care & Hospice at (574) 364-2700.

Left to right: Betty Mullet and Pat Lehman have combined for over 40 years of service with Goshen Home Care & Hospice.

Alma Farmwald has been a volunteer at Goshen Home Care & Hospice for over 20 years. Picture provided by Alma Farmwald.