Hundreds of men and women across the Blue Hill Peninsula face many challenges as they care for loved ones suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, ALS, cancer, and other illnesses. These challenges can seem especially daunting during the holiday season. Holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving often provoke memories of more carefree times, unmarred by health concerns that place tremendous physical and emotional demands on entire families, and full-time caregivers in particular.
To make the holidays a little brighter for caregivers and their loved ones, three local organizations are collaborating on a new event that will include a festive meal and respite care for local families. Blue Hill Memorial Hospital, Friendship Cottage, and Hancock County Homecare & Hospice have developed this event, Hope for the Holidays, which will take place on Saturday, December 11. Volunteers from all three organizations are making the event possible. A number of local businesses are contributing shopping discounts and caregiver gifts to support the event and those it honors.
“We can accommodate 40 guests (caregivers and their loved ones) here at Friendship Cottage,” says Anne Ossanna, site manager for the adult day service. “With help from all three organizations, we’ll serve a restaurant-style meal of beef stew, biscuits, and raspberry squares. We’ve also made arrangements to have appropriate staffing, so that caregivers can have a few hours to themselves in the afternoon, knowing that their loved ones are safe with us enjoying activities like holiday movies and cookie decorating.”
The concept for the event emerged from the Lights of Life event that was traditionally held in conjunction with the Blue Hill Peninsula Chamber of Commerce holiday celebration in December. “Participation in the Lights of Life event has been limited in our area in recent years,” says Kim Goff, director of development for Blue Hill Memorial Hospital. “Many people do not want to venture out on a cold, dark night and returning to the hospital can be tough for someone who has just lost a loved one.” Goff contacted Maureen Giffin of Hancock County HomeCare and Hospice to explore other ways of celebrating local healthcare and honoring loved ones during the holiday season, and later both met with Ossanna of Friendship Cottage.
“Our three organizations have distinct missions, but we serve many of the same families,” says Giffin. “We share a commitment to serving our local communities, and our Hope for the Holidays event grew out of this shared sense of concern. We look forward to other opportunities for collaboration in the future.”
For more information on Hope for the Holidays, contact Friendship Cottage at 374-5612. Because of space constraints, reservations are required for this event which is scheduled from 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 11.