Sue Doris likes making a difference in people’s lives, and volunteers for Age Concern Wellington Region as a visitor for two older people. She enjoys knowing that she has a positive impact in both her clients’ lives. In their own way, each client has become an important friend. “I get my motivation from my parents – they were advocates of community volunteering. I’ve been with Age Concern for years. It’s a great organisation.”
With a background in social work, Sue also works one day a week at the Redwood Club, a day programme which provides a social network for seniors.
Sue Doris heard about Advance Care Planning 15 years ago when she worked at a hospital. Although she wanted to prepare her own Advance Care Plan at the time, she put the thought on the back burner as life’s other priorities demanded her attention.
Advance care planning, the process of thinking and talking about your values and goals and what your preferences are for current and future healthcare, helps you to understand what the future might hold, and say what health care you would or would not want.
When Sue’s mother died about 10 years ago, Sue became astutely aware of just how important having an ACP is. Sue and her mother had discussed end of life care and Sue knew what her mother wanted. This made the decision to let her mother die naturally and without intervention much less painful. After much discussion with her siblings, everyone agreed on their mother’s plan without guilt or doubt.
When Sue heard about Age Concern Wellington Region’s new (and free) Advance Care Planning Service recently, she decided it was finally time to prepare her own plan. Kay Webster, Age Concern’s ACP Coordinator, arranged to meet Sue. “Kay was so friendly on the phone. She gave me the choice of where to meet – we agreed to meet at my house. Kay also sent a booklet in advance, as well as an information sheet,” said Sue.
“When Kay came to my house, she asked if I’d like to write, or if I preferred that she did the writing. She wrote my answers as I spoke. It was so easy!” Although Sue admits the process was a little emotional at times, especially as she thought about her own mother as she went through the questions, Kay’s reassuring voice and manner steadied Sue. They worked through the plan and managed to get to the end. “I had given the questions a lot of thought, but it was helpful to discuss some things. Kay’s easy to talk to, so helpful.”
Once the plan was completed, Sue agreed to have the plan scanned and emailed to the hospital and her GP’s office. Kay copied Sue on the email and left the original with Sue. “I was involved all the way through the process. I had thought for a long time about this, and I felt a huge relief when it was done. Kay made the whole process so easy!”
Sue enjoys collaborating with Age Concern Wellington Region. She finds our services very professional, and feels not only supported as a volunteer, but also as an ACP client.
If you would like to know more about Advance Care Planning, please call 04 499 6648 or visit www.acwellington.org.nz