Category: Care

DEDICATION MESSAGE FOR ARLENE ANGEL

Our dear colleague and friend, Arlene Angel, lost her long and very exhausting battle with cancer on Saturday morning, 28 September 2021 – an Angel has been called home to her Maker.

She is healed and at peace now.

HospiceWits will miss her terribly but remember her with everlasting fondness.

We feel the deep pain and the heartache as a family, and wish to dedicate messages and tributes to her as we celebrate the part of her life she gave unconditionally to HospiceWits.

Her passion, her loyalty, her cheerfulness, her empathy and nurturing personality, will be her legacy – as she lives on in our hearts, forever. 

Rest in Peace, special colleague and friend

Warm regards

Jacqui Kaye

CEO: HOSPICEWITS

As ‘Arlene’s Volunteer’ I was in the uniquely privileged position of working very closely with her and  over the years we shared much and became in many ways good friends. I heard her gentle and compassionate support of families in desperate need of help, her confident re -assurance when  a family member was in crisis and needed someone to take control – her loyalty to Hospice was exemplary and her commitment to palliative care unwavering. I grew to love and respect a remarkable woman – I miss her every day and am so very grateful for all that I learnt from her and for the way she enriched my life in ways beyond measure…

Heather

Arlene, it was such a blessing to have known such a beautiful soul. May your soul rest in eternal peace. You will be dearly missed…

Qinisile Buthelezi

Arlene, no words to describe how we feel, it’s still so unreal! Such a strong women, somebody to look up to. Lovely sweet and caring. May your soul rest in peace. You will be missed

xxx Marlene xxx

To Arlene, May your journey hereon be of Peace; Perfect Love and Perfect Trust, your legacy left behind will always be engraved in our Hearts and in the Spirit of HospiceWits.

Love always, Francois

Dear Arlene, Fly pain free with the Angels. You will be sorely missed. Rest in Peace, Arlene. Condolences to your sons, I know they were your entire world.

Love, Amina

Arlene, we will miss you as Soweto Hospice team. We will remember your loving tender care you were always willing to assist with a good attitude. Your door was always open. There are no goodbyes for us. Wherever you are, you will always be in our hearts. May your soul rest in eternal peace.

With love from Soweto Team

Lovingly remembered for your professionalism, dedication, empathy and kindness.  We miss you.

Love Lyn

Thanks to Arlene for her dedication to HospiceWits and her commitment to making sure that HospiceWits Palliative Care standard were top quality. Very lovely person and cared for every family and patient. It was a great pleasure to have worked with her; she was a very warm and loving person. Arlene will be dearly missed as both a colleague and friend.

Warm Regards

Sipho Siqaza

To our dearest Arlene, your friendship and support has been a truly wonderful gift over the years we worked together. I consider myself very fortunate to have been introduced to you. It is impossible to imagine the world without your optimism, humour and drive. All of us in the pharmacy will miss you very much.

Gavin Brown

Responsible Pharmacist

Arlene, you are lovingly remembered for your kindness, patience and empathy to all those who were privileged to know and with you. You will be sorely missed by the Pharmacy personnel. May you rest in peace

Andrew

(Volunteer Pharmacy)

I share my sincere and deep condolences both personally and on behalf of the HospiceWits Board of Governors to Arlene’s family, to the HospiceWits staff, and to you Jacqui.

Dr Brad Beira

Chairperson: HospiceWits Board of Governors

Such sad news Jacqui. May her dear soul Rest in Peace; Never to be forgotten

Sending love and light to her grieving family and the family of HospiceWits

Michael Judin

HospiceWits Board of Governors for over 23 years

This is such sad news. My sincere condolences to Arlene’s sons (Chad, Jonty and Jarred), her family and the HospiceWits family.

Arlene lived a full life and today we honour her life through our tributes.

I had the privilege to work with her at HospiceWits; we shared many good days as colleagues. I will always remember her gentleness and her kind heart.

She is fondly remembered and what a privilege to have worked with her for so many years.

To her sons and family, thank you for affording us this time to share our fond memories of your Mother/sister. May it bring you comfort during this time.

Fond regards

Esme Pudule
HW Board member
Operations Manager
Hospice Palliative Care Association of South Africa (HPCA)

My sincere condolences on the passing of Arlene Angel to you, her family, friends and the HospiceWits family. May the Lord comfort everyone during this trying time.

Kind regards

Sharon Carter
HR Director
Hospice Palliative Care Association of South Africa (HPCA)


 

We are so sorry to hear about Arlene.  This must be a very difficult time for you and your colleagues.

From CHoiCe Trust our sincerest condolence.

Regards,

Antoinette Schutte

Programme Manager

Good morning Jacqui

We are very saddened at the passing of Arlene. Our deepest sympathy to her family and to your hospice.

Take care

Kind regards

Colleen Douglas

CEO

FRANSCHHOEK HOSPICE

Whilst I never had the opportunity to meet Arlene, if my experience with our team of nurses is anything to go by, I am certain that she was a valued, loved and inspiring part of your team.

Wishing you all strength and courage as you navigate your way through this loss. Our prayers and thoughts are with her family and her friends.

Robert de Wet

Chief Executive Officer

 

Dear Jacqui,

I am very sorry for your loss. Arlene was an icon so HPCA will be paying tribute to her on our Website.

With warm regards,

Ewa Skowronska, MD, MPH
CEO HPCA
Hospice Palliative Care Association of South Africa (HPCA)

I am so sorry Jacqui. My condolences to you and your team.

Kind regards,

Melissa Knox

Dear Jacqui and all at Hospice Wits

It is with an extremely sad and heavy heart that I send this message of sympathy to you on the passing of Arlene Angel. Please accept my personal heartfelt condolences as well as from everyone at Hospice East Rand.  What a huge and sorrowful loss.

Arlene has turned her face to the sun and may she now rest in eternal peace.

Warm regards

Brenda Bisschoff

ADMINISTRATION MANAGER

HOSPICE EAST RAND

We take this opportunity to wish Arlene’s family, her friends and everyone at HospiceWits our sincerest condolences as we know a colleague and a loved one will be dearly missed.  She will leave a large hole indeed. Our sincerest condolences on the passing of such a lovely, sweet person. 

Warmest regards,

Amanda

PA to CEO HPCA

So sorry for your loss but grateful that Arlene’s suffering is over

Tersia Burger

CEO : Stepping Stones Hospice

Dear Jacqui and all staff of HospiceWits

I was heartbroken to hear of Arlene’s passing… just wanted to send my love to you all…. please pass my thoughts on the Homecare team, and to her family

Carin Berman

Arlene has been a loyal stalwart at HospiceWits for so long, and was really excellent in the way she welcomed new patients and families into the concept of palliative care, at a time when many were extremely anxious and afraid. She will certainly be missed

Kind Regards

Dr Mike Brown

How could I forget meeting Arlene when I first visited our sister hospice in May 2007?  Arlene, small in size, and quite large in expressing her love for her work, told us stories of how she works to ensure all referred patients and their families are quickly assessed and admitted into the hospice.  Her voice was joyful, her smile quite large.  She had an amazing system to keep track of everyone, so no one was left behind in receiving care.  I remember being quite impressed how Arlene managed everything she did so incredibly well.  What I equally remember is what a loving, kind, and grateful human being she was.  We bonded over our love of all things hospice and over our shared religious faith.  Although we had only met, I felt like I met a kindred spirit. My feelings about Arlene only grew over subsequent work trips to visit at HospiceWits.  Arlene is truly a one of a kind person and I am grateful I had the chance to meet her and call her friend.  She will be deeply missed.

Stacy

Stacy F Orloff, Ed. D., LCSW, ACHP-SW
Vice President, Innovation and Community Health

EMPATH HEALTH

These authors will share their stories at the Polofields Crossing Book Fair

The Polofields Crossing Book Fair in support of HospiceWits is back, and with talks by skilled South African wordsmiths, literary-inspired menus and free coffee from Manaka, this one promises to be one for the books.

The Spring Book Fair will be the first to feature talks by local authors, and on Saturday, 25 September, Luthando Dyasop and Janine Lazarus take to the stage to discuss their latest books.

Artist and former MK soldier Luthando Dyasop will be talking about his recently published and acclaimed memoir, Out of Quatro. The book not only documents Dyasop’s extraordinary life, but also marks a tumultuous time in ANC history – the resonance of which is still reverberating through the ruling party today. Decades after being released from Quatro, the author has found his voice to tell this important story.

Alongside Dyasop, Janine Lazarus will be sharing her own astonishing real-life encounters, as captured in her book, Bait. Formerly a Sunday Times journalist, Lazarus’s book encapsulates the suburban terror that the so-called Norwood Rapist and serial killer wreaked on women in this suburb in the early 1990s. In a deadly game of cat and mouse, echoing Clarice and Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs, the police use Lazarus as a decoy to hunt down Jacobus Geldenhuys. As the hunter hunts the hunted, things become very personal.

The talks, which are presented in association with NB Publishers, will be held at Polofields Crossing, with tables and seating provided by The Codfather and The Potato Shed. The conversation will be led by the esteemed radio host, Aki Anastasiou, and tickets can be bought for R70 each. All proceeds go to HospiceWits.

  • Where: Polofields Crossing, Corner of Polofields Drive and Waterfall Drive, Midrand
  • When: Saturday, 25 September 2021
  • Time: 11:00 – 12:00

Join us for lunch this Heritage Day long weekend, and leave with a few good books and loads of insight in tow.

Taking place on 24, 25 and 26 September, the Polofields Crossing Spring Book Fair will feature thousands of pre-loved books to peruse in the book tent. Attendees are reminded that they may also bring their own pre-loved reads for donation at the book tent.

Get your tickets here.

Mandela Day 2021: This is how you can help HospiceWits

Mandela Day was first celebrated in 2010, and aims to mobilise citizens to devote 67 minutes to community service on 18 July. The 67 minutes are derived from the 67 years Madiba spent fighting for social justice.

HospiceWits, in its capacity as a non-profit organisation that aims to better the quality of life of the patients we serve, as well as of their families, is heavily dependent on donations from the public and corporate institutions to continue doing our work. While we are always grateful for any donations, we now especially appeal to donors to consider contributing in the spirit of Mandela Day.

All the funds we raise go towards catering to the needs of patients with life-threatening illness that HospiceWits cares for, and to also provide additional support to the families that have entrusted the care of their loved ones to us.

This Mandela Day, HospiceWits’ wish list relates to the refurbishment of our in-patient care (IPU) facilities. Following recent upgrades to one of our IPUs, we are looking to undertake further renovations, and are in need of:

  • Paint
  • Paintbrushes
  • Paint vouchers
  • Any contributions towards repairs

There are various other ways in which you can assist HospiceWits on Mandela Day, both financially and otherwise, and we thank you in advance for making a difference to the lives of our patients and their families.

Club 2000

HospiceWits’ Club 2000 doesn’t only form an integral part of this charity’s fundraising efforts, but also rewards Club 2000 members by entering them into a monthly cash draw, standing a chance to win a whopping R20 000 every month. A commitment of as little as R50 enters you into our monthly draw, and Club 2000 members may choose to sign up for as many numbers as they wish in order to maximise their chances of winning.

Register HospiceWits as a beneficiary on your MySchool card

When you register HospiceWits as a beneficiary on your MySchool card, we will receive a percentage of the transaction every time you swipe your card at a participating retailer. Here is how to sign up for the MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet card, and to set up HospiceWits as a beneficiary.

Support our shops

HospiceWits shops are central to our annual fundraising. Our shops in Parkmore, Orange Grove and Kensington are especially popular among Joburgers that are looking for bargains, as is our stand at the Rosebank Flea Market.

Every time you buy something at our charity shops, you are directly contributing to covering our day-to-day expenses, but please don’t forget that we are also thrilled to receive donations. We are always looking for:

– Pots, pans and kitchen goods
– Crockery, cutlery
– Linen and curtains
– Ladies’, men’s and children’s clothing
– Furniture
– Electrical items in working order
– Ornaments, bric-a-brac, general home goods
– Books, DVDs and CDs
– Toys

– Non-perishable food donations for distribution to our patients

If you have a large quantity of items to donate and are unable to deliver them yourself, we also collect! Please call our depot on 011 728 1052.

How to move on from grief

In the midst of what is perhaps the most tumultuous time any of us have ever experienced in our lives, moving on from the grief associated with the passing of a loved one may seem almost impossible. While loss is an inevitable part of life, personal losses are now compounded by the collective grief that the world is experiencing due to the effect of the pandemic.

When it seems like everyone is constantly in a state of grieving, how does one move on from your own, and start living your life to the full again?

What is grief?

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines grief as “deep and poignant distress caused by or as if by bereavement (sadness because of the death of a loved one)”. Most people who have had to deal with the death of a loved one will have heard of the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

It is important to note that not everyone who experiences grief over the passing of someone near to them will go through these exact stages, and that not everyone’s grief will follow this trajectory.

The author Vicki Harris describes grief as being “like the ocean; it comes on waves ebbing and flowing”. “Sometimes the water is calm,” says Harris, “and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim.”

Learning to swim

Looking at the stages of grief, acceptance is ultimately what any grieving person is working towards. For many people, learning to live without the person they have lost is something they explicitly do not want to do. For these people, accepting the fact that their loved one is no longer physically here feels like something that is disrespectful towards the person they have lost, and is not honouring their loved one’s memory.

A person who is stuck in their grief may feel persistently depressed about the loss they have experienced, not seeing a way out of the sadness that constantly overwhelms them.

If you feel like you are stuck in grief, these five tips may be of help to you:

  • Respect your loss: Paying respect to a loved one is an important part of accepting the loss. You can do this by creating a memorial space to serve as a reminder of your loved one, or by journaling or writing them a letter.
  • Prioritise your self-care: After spending so much time making the care of your loved one a priority, it can be exceptionally difficult to shift the focus to self-care. This is very important, though, not just for your physical health, but also for your mental wellbeing. Practice good self-care by eating well, staying active (even a short walk makes a huge difference) and steering clear of addictive substances that numb your feelings.
  • Be kind to yourself: This is not the time to ruminate on what you could have done differently while your loved one was ill. Of course, hindsight will bring its own lessons, but there is no point in beating yourself up about things you did or didn’t do.
  • Reach out: Even if it might feel like you are having a singular experience that no one will truly understand, grief is central to the human experience, and everyone will have to deal with it at some stage. Speak to someone you can trust about the emotions you are experiencing, and reach out to a mental health professional if you find yourself consumed by grief and unable to move forward.

COVID-19 has had a profound effect on the way we deal with loss. If someone passes away in hospital, chances are that their loved ones won’t be able to say goodbye to them like they’d normally be able to. The rituals associated with loss, like memorial services and funerals, have also been significantly affected by the pandemic.

This means that we will all have to learn to create our own customs to deal with our loss. Remember, even if it may feel so, you are never alone.

The loss of someone close to us is something that deeply affects us. Learning to swim without them by our side is difficult, but not impossible – especially when we realise that there are plenty of other people who also have to navigate these stormy waters.

If you need to speak to someone about your grief, feel free to contact the South African Depresson and Anxiety Group (SADAG) by calling 0800 12 13 14.  

Four remarkable and notable women in medicine

Despite the fairer sex traditionally being considered more caring, there is still a significant discrepancy in terms of women actually being acknowledged for the important contributions they have made to the world of medicine.

On the Health Awareness annual calendar, there are now several dates that celebrate women. In May, there were three such dates: 5 May was the International Day of the Midwife, International Nurses Day was celebrated on May 12th, and the International Day of Action for Women’s Health was commemorated on 28th May.

Women these days are breaking barriers, trendsetters and have proven that nothing is impossible. Some of the best surgeons, specialists and doctors nowadays are women. Women are remarkable and are constantly making a difference in the medical field. We celebrate you. We salute you.

In this vein, we’d like to highlight four women who have made important contributions to medicine.

Peseshet

Not much is known about Peseshet, but historians believe she lived during the Fourth Dynasty of Egypt, between 2613 BC and 2494 BC. Peseshet was known as the “lady overseer of the female physicians”, and may even have had a hand in training midwives. She is considered to be the earliest known female physician in ancient Egypt.

Metrodora

Credited with penning the oldest medical text known to be written by a female doctor, “On the Diseases and Cures of Women,”  Metrodora was a Greek physician who lived somewhere between 200 and 400 AD. Influenced by Hippocrates, Metrodora developed revolutionary surgical techniques and therapies, also influencing numerous physicians that came after her.

Marie Curie

The discoveries that Marie Curie and her husband Pierre made about polonium and radium would ultimately famously lead to the development of one of the modern era’s greatest medical discoveries – the X-ray. Marie Curie was awarded the Nobel Prize twice (in 1903 for Physics, and for Chemistry in 1911), and the Parisian Curie Institute, which she founded in 1920, remains one of the most prominent cancer research facilities in the world today. 

Florence Nightingale

Considered the founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale is colloquially known as “The Lady With the Lamp”. International Nurses Day falls on Nightingale’s date of birth. The foundations she laid for nursing care would also become part and parcel of hospice care when Dame Cicely Saunders founded the first modern hospice care facility in the 1960s.

We salute the many women who have had a role to play in the development of modern medicine, and also tip our hats to the millions of women working in healthcare today.

7 TED Talks that will give you new insight into healthcare

The way we care for our sick has changed drastically over the past century, and there is innovation in the healthcare sector every day.

These 7 TED Talks take a look at some of the most interesting innovations and insights gathered about palliative care over the past few years, and will leave you in awe of human reason and compassion.

1. How to meaningfully reconnect with those who have dementia – Anne Basting

A dementia diagnosis can provide a wonderful opportunity to open a shared path to discovery, and to how caregivers can make meaning of a condition usually associated with loss, says Anne Basting.

2. The hidden role informal caregivers play in health care – Scott Williams

Scott Williams shares the crucial role informal caregivers play in the bigger scheme of healthcare and social systems across the globe.

3. A tribute to nurses – Carolyn Jones

Carolyn Jones pays homage to nurses after five years of documenting their work in the United States.

4. Stories from a home for terminally ill children – Kathy Hull

The founder of the first freestanding paediatric palliative care facility in America talks about the beauty and heartbreak of caring for children with terminal illnesses.

5. What we can do to die well – Timothy Ihrig

Palliative care workers will identify with the thoughts Timothy Ihrig shares about caring for patients with life-limiting illness.

6. We need a heroic narrative for death – Amanda Bennett

Facing death needn’t be something that isn’t still brimming with life, argues Amanda Bennett in this touching talk.

7. How I’m preparing to get Alzheimer’s – Alanna Shaikh

Instead of fearing an Alzheimer’s diagnosis later in life after a parent was diagnosed with the disease, Alanna Shaikh is preparing for the possibility in a way that goes against traditional views of terminal illness.

Important Information if your loved one has Dementia

Used as a catchall term for a number of different conditions, dementia is a condition that affects some of the patients receiving palliative care from HospiceWits.   

Dementia includes progressive and terminal conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, frontotemporal dementia, Lewy body dementia, or a combination of these.

It is important to note that each type of dementia comes with a particular set of characteristic symptoms, which may overlap in some cases.

Alzheimer’s disease

Perhaps the most widely studied form of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease starts in the brain many years before its symptoms are actually expressed. Although Alzheimer’s is sometimes diagnosed in younger people, 60% to 70% of cases appear in people who are older than 60 years of age.

Some of the symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s include:

  • Memory problems: The ability to form new memories is usually the first to go, with memories from the recent past becoming fractured.
  • Problems with executive functions: People with Alzheimer’s may have difficulty planning, organising, or thinking logically, finding themselves getting lost in time and space.
  • General difficulties with regard to space and time, for example wanting a gin and tonic at 5:00 in the morning.
  • Language difficulty: Patients may have trouble expressing themselves or comprehending what others are saying.

Frontotemporal dementia

40% to 50% of patients with frontotemporal dementia have a strong genetic disposition towards the condition. Early-onset frontotemporal dementia may affect people under 60 years of age.

Some of the symptoms associated with frontotemporal dementia include:

  • Behavioural changes: Patients may exhibit apathy, a loss of empathy with others, changes in diet, and impaired planning and judgement.
  • Language difficulties: Patients may find themselves unable to understand language or produce speech.

Lewy body dementia

In cases of Parkinson’s disease, protein deposits called Lewy bodies occur in the part of the brain that is involved in movement. In the case of Lewy body dementia, these same protein deposits occur in the cells of the brain’s cerebral cortex.

Some of the symptoms associated with Lewy body dementia include:

  • Fluctuating cognitive changes
  • Loss of attention
  • Changes in visual special awareness
  • Hallucinations
  • Sleep disorders
  • Some of the physical or motor features of Parkinson’s disease, like tremors.

Vascular dementia

This condition stems from accumulated damage to the blood vessels in the brain – the nervous system is very sensitive to damage like this – caused by the blockage of small vessels or bleeds in the brain that lead to periods of oxygen depletion.

Vascular dementia can be characterised by periods of functional deterioration, interspersed with periods of relative stability.

The different stages of dementia, and how to provide care to patients

Dementia may progress in various stages, and understanding these stages allows carers and loved ones to make sense of the individual with dementia’s journey.

Stage one: Mild dementia

A person’s cognitive functioning or thinking is affected. This may include things like changes in memory, planning, judgement, mood, insight and communication. This is often the time when a diagnosis is made.

How to provide care and support: Focus on independence, autonomy, and planning for the patient’s future.

Stage two: Moderate dementia

One may see an increase in symptoms from stage one, as well as the onset of psychological and behavioural symptoms.

How to provide care and support: Safety considerations become vital, for example, not leaving the patient alone, putting security on gates and outside doors, and making sure that plugs and kitchen appliances are out of reach.

Stage three: Advanced dementia

Progressive impairment of nerve impulses starts affecting the working of the muscles. This can affect mobility, chewing, swallowing, continence, and other physical functions like contractures. During this stage, the patient will most likely require progressive assistance with daily living, and is at an increased risk of infections.

How to provide care and support: Comfort and the relief of the physical symptoms related with dementia become the focus now. Loved ones or carers may decide to use the arts as a means of communication when this becomes difficult for patients. For example, singing, dancing, tactile attention (touch) and hearing music or poems from the patient’s youth may help to settle them down.

To find out how HospiceWits can assist a loved one with dementia, please contact us here.

DEDICATION TO MR ALAN LOOMES

Mr Alan Loomes was first introduced to HospiceWits in 1999 through our Architect Nicholas Whitcutt to launch the construction of our training centre at Mofolo Clinic complex in Soweto.

The project was sponsored by funds generously donated by the Japanese Government and complimented the containers that housed at least 15 patients.  

The complex of two lecture rooms and administration offices were built by Alan and his teams, and many students have since benefitted from our Hospice Palliative care program, and our current Anciliary training courses.

Alan was invited to join the HospiceWits Board of Trustees in 2004, during which time he spent some two years prospecting for a suitable site for a Hospice Flagship Clinic, which was finally found in Diepkloof, Soweto. Together with the Hospice Team of Carers, a tender was submitted to the Johannesburg Property Company, and was duly accepted.

Together with the late Hymie Moross, Architect, the Diepkloof Hospice was built with the help of the donations from the National Lottery Board, many local institutions/organisations and International Governments.

HospiceWits in Soweto officially opened its doors in March 2007, consisting of a Paediatric IPU, a Male/Female Adult IPU and offering Homecare nursing to patients in the comfort of their own homes.

A highlight of Alan’s time with HospiceWits was when he hosted a royal visit from Her Highness, Princess Caroline of Monaco, who supports international institutions where children are a strong inclusion.

All of this would not have happened without the teamwork and support from the Hospice staff at that time, represented by Barbara Campbell-Ker, the Executive Director.

In the last number of years, Alan was enticed back by the current CEO, Jacqui Kaye, to offer his time, skills and experience in assisting HospiceWits to source potential tenants for our Soweto site, advising on cost saving initiatives, being in contact with the Johannesburg Property Company to ensure compliance and maintaining good working relationships, and engaging on our behalf with small businesses in the Soweto community. Alan was instrumental in securing and negotiating with BGM Renal Care to lease a portion of the Diepkloof site out as a Renal Dialysis Clinic. His untimely death means that Alan will not be able to stand tall and proud when the clinic is launched. His absence will be felt and his major contribution will be shared and appreciated.

HospiceWits had the honour of partnering with a hardworking, trustworthy, passionate and reliable person in Mr Alan Loomes, and we deeply mourn his loss. He always arrived with a smile, entertained with humour, and left having touched our lives in a positive way.

Our condolences to Merle and his family at this time, as well as to his partners and colleagues, who will continue to uphold his legacy.

  It was with deep regret that I received your note informing us of the sad passing of Alan Loomes. May his dear soul R.I.P and I would appreciate you conveying to his wife, Merle in Knysna, my deepest sympathies and the wish that his dear soul rests in peace.   Alan did so much for HospiceWits. May this be a blessing for his soul and for his heart- broken family he has left behind.   He will always be remembered and I think it would be a fitting tribute to his memory that Alan and what he did for HospiceWits is never forgotten.   Michael Judin
  Alan’s work and his passion for HospiceWits was by no means concluded. His warm smile and his jovial personality will be remembered with fondness. He is already sorely missed by me and all at HospiceWits.   Jacqui Kaye : CEO
Board Members:   Our heartfelt condolences to the Loomes family and the hospice family- indeed a sad loss to all.                                                                              Esme Pudule   Condolences to all affected by this sad news.           Hiten Keshave   My sincere condolences to Merle – very sad news indeed.      Dr Brad Beira

HospiceWits and Polofields Crossing Book Fair a huge success

It has been a month since the first HospiceWits Book Fair took place at the Polofields Crossing shopping centre in Johannesburg, on 20 and 21 March, and we are still basking in the glory of this long weekend fundraising effort.

Thanks to support from local shoppers, HospiceWits was able to “re-home” thousands of books, allowing book lovers to fill some space on their bookshelves, while also contributing to a good cause. All funds raised over the weekend went towards the operational expenses associated with the palliative care HospiceWits provides to patients in and around Johannesburg.

We were lucky to have seasoned disc jockey Mark Pilgrim of Hot 91.9 FM with us over the weekend, which certainly created the festive atmosphere we were hoping for. Literary buffs arrived in droves, and we were also able to spoil a few lucky shoppers with vouchers to use at some Polofields Crossing retailers.

If you weren’t able to join the literary fun this time, please keep an eye on our Facebook page for news about similar upcoming events – if all goes well, we’ll have a spring Book Fair just as soon as the weather turns a little warmer again.

In the meantime, please remember that you can find quality pre-loved reading material at any of our HospiceWits shops, located around Johannesburg and at the Rosebank Flea Market. We are always happy to accept donations of any kind, including second-hand books, and are grateful for your support in helping to raise the critical funds we need, to do our vital work.

We extend our heartfelt thanks to Polofields Crossing and to every shopper who dropped by on Saturday and Sunday. If we had to review you, we’d offer no less than five stars!

How older people can stay healthy as winter approaches

The pandemic has drawn our attention to the importance of staying healthy through the winter months – and this is especially true for people who are older, or those who are suffering from life-limiting illnesses.

This winter, the focus will not only fall on preventing the flu, as is normally the case this time of year, but with the need to take additional measures to also protect ourselves against COVID-19.

The following are a few suggestions to help keep you and your loved ones healthy and safe this winter:

  1. Stay warm

Older people don’t have the same ability to tolerate fluctuating temperatures as they did when they were younger, and need something extra to stay warm. In this regard, caretakers and family members will find that a few layers of clothing instead of a single chunky layer is more efficient, along with an extra blanket or two on the bed and on the chair.

If you’re using hot water bottles or an electric blanket in bed, take care not to use these two together, and make sure that the heat of the electric blanket is not turned up too high, to prevent burns.

  • If possible, stay active

Another way of staying warm when temperatures drop is to stay active. During the day, when it is more bearable to do so, a quick walk around the garden can do wonders for the body.  It can also invigorate the mind and do a lot to soothe mental health issues, like depression or anxiety. If a person isn’t able to walk by him or herself anymore, even simple armchair exercises may be enough to get the heart rate up and the blood pumping.

  • Ensure they are eating a healthy diet

Our eating habits play an important role in our overall health.  Even though we tend to gravitate towards hearty, carbohydrate-rich meals like stews, we should try and ensure that older people, and those living with life-limiting illnesses, still consume plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit as part of a healthy diet. If needs be, and if recommended by a primary care physician, use supplements (vitamins B, C, D, along with zinc and probiotics) as well as nutritional shakes to make up for any shortfalls.

  • Stay hydrated

It is easier to ensure that our loved ones are drinking enough water in summer, but making sure they are hydrated can prove more difficult during the colder months. While we all tend to drink more hot beverages like coffee and tea in the winter, it is important to remember that caffeinated drinks can lead to dehydration, which can lead to further problems. Keep track of the amount of water being consumed every day to prevent this.

It goes without saying that people are more likely to get sick in winter than they are in summer. When it comes to older family members, it is especially important to ensure that they stay healthy. Simple things like good eating habits and some activity during the day make a huge difference when it comes to overall health and wellbeing.  Remember to show you care by visiting them and making regular phone calls.

To find out more about the palliative care services offered by HospiceWits in the greater Johannesburg region, click here.