You won’t find most teens spending time with senior citizens on a Friday afternoon, let alone seniors in hospice. But Maddie, from Brownsburg, Indiana, isn’t like other kids her age. On top of school work and a part-time job at the library, this high school junior finds time to volunteer with Brookdale.
“My parents have always taught me to guard my ‘yes,’” said Maddie. “It may sound cliché, but it means that if I commit to something, it is truly important to me.”
And Maddie is very committed to this responsibility. As a companionship volunteer, she visits with two Brookdale Hospice patients every week. They spend time together watching television, playing games and attending community activities. She also loves to read books with a patient named Cindy – they’ve devoured a handful of mystery novels together.
But it’s the stories she hears from her patients that’s had the biggest impact on her. As a teen, Maddie admits she “hasn’t been around very long” – listening to seniors talk about what life was like decades ago puts her own life into perspective. And while working with seniors who are at the end of life’s journey isn’t for everyone, Maddie notes that it’s made her more empathetic. This experience has taught her the value of a listening ear and the importance of feeling loved.
“Hospice is about making sure that people are able to live the best life they can in the time they have. Hospice isn’t focused on death and dying, it is focused on the journey of life.”
Maddie’s focused on living life to the fullest now, rather than pushing things off until she is older.
“It is an honor to be allowed to be a part of someone’s life at every stage. Everyone needs a community of support and love. I think that being with someone during the transition of the end of life is even more of an honor.”
Thank you, Maddie, for your commitment to Brookdale Hospice.