End-of-life doulas can make passing easier for all
When planning for the birth of a baby, many couples will hire a doula, also known as a birth companion or post-birth supporter. Doulas are nonmedical professionals who assist the mother before, during and after childbirth, and give support to the spouse and family by providing physical assistance and emotional support. Their experience and training can help make the birth experience more relaxed and positive.
Wouldn't that same support be beneficial at the end of life? Shouldn't we be enjoying the skills of an end-of-life doula? We at the Lake Oswego Adult Community Center see big benefits with this concept. And that is why we have invited Christine Borchert of Evening Star End-of-Life Doula Services, LLC, to share information about the support she and her colleagues can provide. They provide compassionate conversation, education and preparation for the end of life, including planning support early in the diagnosis, vigil support during the active dying phase and follow-up support for loved ones two to four weeks after the death.
The company was founded by Christine in 2015, after she assisted three family members from diagnosis to death.
"I felt an overwhelming desire to provide support for other families facing this challenging road," she said. Her search for how to help the dying and their loved ones led her to INELDA, the International End of Life Doula Association. Their description of an end-of-life doula was exactly what she was looking for. "I quit my job, bought a plane ticket and flew to New Jersey to join the first non-hospice based training that INELDA offered to the public." After logging hundreds of volunteer hours with Providence and Signature Hospice, she achieved certification by INELDA in October 2016, and began providing end-of-life doula support to private clients.
"I feel honored to be invited into the homes of people facing a terminal diagnosis. We talk, laugh and cry as we explore the questions that dying raises," she says.
Christine will share information about end-of-life doula services and then lead discussions from questions raised by those in attendance at two events taking place at the LOACC. Plan on attending from 1 to 2:30 p.m. April 3 or April 10. Topics to be discussed include legacy projects, vigil plans and in-home ceremonies for the recently deceased. Christine will assist participants in improving their ability to deal with death and dying.
Cost is $5 for Lake Oswego residents and $7 for non-residents, and includes a voucher for a complimentary one-hour phone consult with Christine. Sign up for either session by calling the LOACC.
Watch your mailbox for new Medicare cards coming in April. These will not have a social security number printed on them. The new cards are completely free, will come in the mail starting in April. Be aware that people may try to scam you into paying for your card. Hang up on them — the cards are free.
Remember that lunch service is being held at the Municipal Golf Course, 17525 S.W. Stafford Road in Lake Oswego, while our kitchen floor is being replaced. The menu this week features turkey cranberry sandwich on Friday, March 9; bacon lettuce tomato spinach salad on Monday, March 12 and chicken and dumplings on Wednesday, March 14. Cost is a suggested donation of $4 for those 60 and over and $5 for everyone else.
The LOACC is located at 505 G Ave., Lake Oswego, 97034. A list of activities and support groups can be found on our website, loacc.info, under the Calendar banner. Click on "View the Adult Community Center Calendar" and then the activity for more details. Call 503-635-3758 to register for classes, events, make lunch reservations or schedule a massage.
Maria Bigelow is a program supervisor at the Lake Oswego Adult Community Center.