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Moments to Teach and Learn Made Possible by Hospice

As I walked into the tidy little home on Beaverdam Lake, to interview newfound friends, never did I expect to see the breathtaking view that lay before Lois and Michelle as they sat at the computer

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Moments to Teach and Learn Made Possible by Hospice

As I walked into the tidy little home on Beaverdam Lake, to interview newfound friends, never did I expect to see the breathtaking view that lay before Lois and Michelle as they sat at the computer screen.  The windows surrounding the living room look out onto the lake and encompassing mountains.  The colors of the water, blue sky, white clouds and green mountains that morning created a scene that could have easily been a piece of Lois’s own artwork that hangs on every wall of her home.

“When I decided to become a certified hospice volunteer last year, never did I expect to enter in to this amazing relationship,” declared Michelle Krutchkoff.  

Hospice patient, Lois Lipper was diagnosed with ALS about four years ago.  Never did Lois expect to be restricted in a body that was used to traveling and creating works of art. Fate brought these two ladies with artistic backgrounds together and they both continue to teach and learn from one another!

The medium they use is the computer. “We work on her vast library of photos taken from places Lois has traveled to,” explains Michelle.  “She picks a photo out she wants to "tweak" and I become an extension of her hands by working the mouse to lighten or darken the photo and sometimes even move areas within a picture to create a new piece of art. She has become my teacher as I have never done this before and it has opened my eyes to photography and the works of art Lois creates.”

Michelle visits with Lois every Monday and Friday for a couple hours each day and helps her with everyday chores such as checking and responding to emails, answering and making phone calls and ordering items on Amazon or getting new books for Lois’s kindle. 

Towards the end of their visit, they reserve a little of what Lois refers to as “fun time,” where they research everything from gardening ideas to new discoveries in medicine and even ancient Egypt. 

“Lois and I have great discussions and learn much from each other, but as time goes by, the debilitating effects of this disease take a little bit more of a toll on her,” admits Michelle.  

The specialized care that hospice provides for Lois through her entire care team allows her to enjoy her life as she is able to live it today.  The relationship between these soul mates will continue, allowing for many more moments of life to be shared as they continue to teach and learn from one another.

Submitted by: Janice Valentino, Director of Marketing and Development, Hospice of Orange and Sullivan Counties, Inc.

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