MASONIC VILLAGE HOSPICE
Your Gifts Are Helping Widows Through Grief
Finding Special Moments Some people are just born to help others. Their naturally cheerful, helpful and caring demeanor, mixed with personal experiences that create a desire to make others’ lives better, lead them on a journey that is often heartbreaking, intimate and fulfilling. For social workers Kevin Jacoby, Allison Reeder and Jasmine Rakszawski, their journey brought them to Masonic Village Hospice, where they help patients and families through end-of-life care. Kevin (pictured above, right) had worked in many other areas of social work before coming to Masonic Village Hospice, including juvenile corrections and a trauma rehabilitation hospital. “I wanted to work in human services and found social work as a career option,” Kevin said. “It’s all I’ve ever done and all I’ve ever wanted to do.” The nature of the job requires emotional openness, strength and 2
intelligence, as they deal with death on a daily basis. Allison mentions that it’s important to maintain a strong level of self-awareness and reflection. Prior to coming to Hospice, she worked as the only social worker for a neonatal intensive care unit, and she realized it was time for a change. “I had always been interested in palliative care and hospice,” Allison explains. She has been part of the Hospice team since 2017 and has made connections with many families and patients and has found support among her peers. “My passion for this job remains unwavering because I feel part of a team,” she said. Besides their day-to-day work guiding patients and families through hospice care, Kevin, Allison and Jasmine also help create special moments for patients before they pass. These often include returning to a special location the patient wants to visit one last time or being able to participate in a
favorite hobby or activity that was special to them throughout their lives. Kevin says that while hospice is admittedly an “end of life” program, they love to focus on the “of life” part as much as possible. “Along with other team members, I’ve been involved in taking a patient to a Phillies game (pictured above), attending craft sessions, visiting a horse farm, taking a patient down to the Susquehanna River and getting a resident back to the beach in Delaware.” While they make it a point to create “big” special moments that can give families lasting positive memories with their loved one, Kevin tries to put his heart and soul into every moment, not just the planned ones. “In the course of our daily work, we are blessed by special moments in every encounter,” Kevin says. “Sharing a laugh or joke with a patient, aides providing a good hot shower, chaplains
Pictured is Allison (right) with a patient.
offering prayer, nurses easing pain, recalling and celebrating life in discussion, sitting with someone who is close to dying, being there with them when they die and supporting grieving families after they die. All of these are very special moments.” For Allison and Jasmine, who has worked with Hospice for more than seven years, the planned moments can be some of the biggest boosts in feeling connected with the work they do. One of the special moments that Allison has helped create was hiring an Elvis impersonator to provide a private concert for a patient. Another was taking a patient to a casino with the assistance of hospice nurse Amber Pawuk (pictured above, left).
Pictured is Jasmine (center) and her co-workers baking with patients.
Jasmine has worked with patients to sign future birthday cards and make other keepsakes for family members, see Christmas lights and attend a loved one’s wedding.
“We treat each patient as an individual,” Jasmine said. “Special moments provide us opportunities to focus on their unique needs. It’s a privilege to be part of their joy and their journey.” “Knowing that I get to be the one who helps to bring a special moment to fruition is extremely fulfilling,” Allison said. “Some of them take more involved planning, but I see it as a fun challenge.” These special moments are shared by staff, families, patients and the surrounding community in a lot of
ways. Many of the moments involve a couple sharing a special dinner from a restaurant they frequented throughout their lives, and on a few occasions, the restaurant provides the meal for free. While it takes a village to successfully plan and fulfill one of these special moments, Hospice’s social workers put in their time to ensure not only that a patient passes with dignity and respect, but also that family is able to have lasting memories with their loved ones. While their careers can be emotionally trying, Kevin, Allison and Jasmine all share a love for their work. “I’m surrounded by an incredible team and feel blessed to be a part of it,” Kevin said.
You Are Helping Us Through this Pandemic Thanks to our generous donors, Hospice staff have access to the required personal protective equipment they need – like masks, gloves and face shields – so they can continue to provide quality care for their patients without fearing for their own health. Financial contributions from our donors have also allowed staff to take advantage of technological resources – like video chatting and telehealth – to keep in contact and continue to be a resource for patients and their families, as well as grieving families. As this pandemic continues, we know you’ll be with us every step of the way. Thank you for proving things are better when we come together and unite. 3
A Heart of Gold Michele Koser has countless memories with her father, David “Dave” Shafer, from riding on the back of his bike as a child and eating chocolate ice cream at Baskin-Robbins to their countless dinners out together as adults. When Michele had two children of her own, her favorite memories revolved around the bond her father shared with her children. “I was very close to my dad. He was always my rock,” Michele said. “He was a hard worker and dedicated to his wife and children.” Michele’s mother endured several medical issues in her late 40s, which put great responsibility and pressure on Michele’s father to take care of Michele and her two siblings. “He never had thoughts to walk away, only to provide and ensure we all had what we needed,” Michele recalled. “Everyone knew him as a 4
person who was always pleasant, smiling and someone who wanted everyone else to be happy. He would do anything to make that happen.” After Michele’s mother passed away, Michele and her husband decided to add in-law quarters to their home, so they could care for Dave in the future. In 2009, sooner than Michele expected, Dave began enduring his own health issues. He developed hydrocephalus, a build-up of fluid in the cavities within the brain, and shortly after began suffering from Parkinson’s, dementia and complications from diabetes.
“My dad made a vow to his family and to my mom,” Michele said. “I felt I owed it back to him to do the same. It was my turn to take care of him.” While working as a social worker and raising her two children, Michele
became her father’s caregiver. Though she also had her husband as a support system, there were still stresses that came from caregiving. However, Michele recalls twice as many benefits. “Being a caregiver requires dedication and, at times, devoting 100% of your life and time,” Michele said, “but my children got to have their grandfather with them from day one and build memories. I truly believe my dad was with us so long because of the care we were able to give him and being around his family every day. It took a tribe.” As Dave’s conditions worsened, Michele, with some guidance from loved ones and medical professionals, decided it was time to pursue comfort care for her father. “It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done,” Michele said, “but the Masonic Village Hospice team was
amazing. The care they gave my dad was above and beyond. Dad would light up when they would arrive and say, ‘Good morning, handsome.’ No matter what day it was or what time of day it was, they were available. ” Bob Heim, Dave’s hospice nurse, built a special bond with the family, and kept Dave comfortable and at peace. “Bob knew my son was going to graduate high school,” Michele recalled. “He knew how much we wanted Dad to attend the graduation, and Bob did absolutely everything he could to try to make it happen.” “Ever since I was little, my Grandpa was always there for me,” Michele’s son, Cullen, said, “from teaching me to shave, to talking about girls. He was the kind of man who could make anyone smile, even on their darkest days.”
hospice provided emotional support throughout Dave’s death.
Michele keep her father at home, a place where he will always be missed.
His nurse’s aide, Samantha Sheaffer, connected with Michele’s daughter, Makayla, who struggled with her grandfather’s death.
“There are still days I drive in my driveway and hope to see his smiling face,” Michele said.
“She knew what Makayla was experiencing,” Michele said. “She had lost both her parents and had a daughter my daughter’s age who had lost her grandfather, too.”
Michele has made it through the first year after losing her father. Hospice helped show her that the roller coaster of emotions she was experiencing was normal. You learn to cope, but never stop missing the ones you love.
“He was my best friend, my hero and my light in a dark room,” Makayla said. “He showed me what hard work and dedication looks like.”
“My dad taught us all to never let anything take you down without a good fight,” Michele said. “He had a heart of gold.”
“It meant the world that the staff made a connection with my daughter,” Michele said. “We felt comfortable and safe with them.”
Unfortunately, Michele’s dad could not fight any longer.
Looking back, Michele, who was at first fearful of obtaining hospice services, says she couldn’t have made it through without them.
“Hospice helped prepare me, but it was absolutely the hardest thing to deal with,” Michele said. “You don’t want to be selfish, but it’s so hard when you can’t imagine not seeing that person every day.”
“At first, hospice scared me. I felt like I was signing my dad up to die, and that I was giving up on him,” Michele said. “Now, I recommend Masonic Village Hospice when I encounter situations that could benefit.”
More than just health care support,
Most importantly, Hospice helped
An Unexpected Love Gabriele “Gabi” Bayer and her late husband, Martin, were both born and raised in Germany, but had to come to America to meet. Gabi was 20 years old when she decided to take a chance and come to the United States. In the first few years, she learned English and became accustomed to American culture, but didn’t expect to find love. “I met Martin in a German club,” Gabi recalls. “He was nice and funny, and we just hit it off. We always worked well together.” Gabi and Martin married a few years later in 1959. They raised a son and a daughter, and the strong work ethic they shared kept them together for 60 years. In addition to his family and love for the outdoors, Martin’s life was heavily influenced by Freemasonry. When the time came for the Bayers to plan for their future, there was no question about moving to Masonic Village at Elizabethtown. They enjoyed their retirement together, but, four years after moving into their cottage, their lives drastically changed.
“Martin woke up early one morning, and I could tell something wasn’t right,” Gabi said. “He was disoriented, and wouldn’t tell me what was wrong. I was hoping it was something he ate.” Martin suffered a severe stroke, which greatly affected his speech. He spent several days recovering in the hospital, but never fully regained his speech or the personality Gabi once knew. “He was a proud man, so it was hard for him,” Gabi said. “Things went downhill pretty quickly.” Martin also began suffering from dementia and moved to the Masonic Health Care Center at Masonic Village to receive the care he needed. Each day, Gabi would visit Martin. One day, she and the staff noticed he was starting to refuse to eat or drink. “He just needed a lot of extra help,” Gabi said. Fortunately, that “help” came in the form of Masonic Village Hospice. While Martin only received services for a week, Gabi appreciated how staff helped ensure Martin was comfortable in his last few days and hours. “It was the hardest thing I’ve ever
been through,” Gabi recalled. “I lost my mother and my father, but I wasn’t there day-to-day [during their passing].” After Martin passed away in May 2019, Gabi grew closer to hospice staff.
“It’s wonderful that I can reach out and talk to Heidi [Young, bereavement coordinator],” Gabi says. “No matter what it is, we can talk about it.” Gabi has also joined one of hospice’s grief support groups. She has the support of her family members, but appreciates hearing and learning from outside perspectives. “It’s very helpful to listen to others and how they’ve dealt with death and grief,” Gabi said. Gabi finds solace in remembering the many memories she’s made with Martin, as well as the loving father and grandfather he was. Last year, Gabi, her son, daughter and five grandchildren attended Masonic Village Hospice’s first annual butterfly release, where they released a butterfly in Martin’s memory. “I would tell anyone to get hospice for a loved one who may need it,” Gabi said. “It really helps the caregiver and gives you support even after they are gone.”
Thank You Memorials
Gifts received May 1 - July 31
Clyde N. Albright Paul G. Bernard Virginia L. Boyd Edward C. Carty Fern E. Cathcart Claire T. Crill Barbara L. Frantz Hugh J. Gallagher Kathryn Gantz Paul T. Gerhart Steven L. Hain George R. Helm Sterling P. Hepler Joan Schreck Higgins William A. Hoin Kay L. Horst Deborah A. Hower David and Alicia Hunsberger Eleanor R. Ivanoff James L. Keefer Alvin L. Leisey, Jr. Richard C. Mann Virginia “Ginny” Maurey Eileen McNiff Linda L. Miller Mary K. Mummert George F. Novatnak Dorothy K. Olweiler Fay Rauschkolb Joyce Reedy George L. Schmitt, Sr. Gloria L. Schnee
Janice Albright and Stephen Gotwols Nancy Hess Janet Brandt Ruth Carty Michael and Barbara Cathcart Virginia Fields Charlotte Martin John and Donna Matthias Ilene Schenkel Suzanne Schintzius Phyllis Toth and Michael Duhigg Robert Frantz Eileen Mahan John Gantz Mary Lou Strouse James and Linda Frees Ken and Joann Fry Betsy Graver John and Christine Kurtz John Alleman Lois Bittinger William and Gail Heinz Ken and Ruth Noble Travis, Stephanie and Haley Smith Duane and Nancy Hepler Frederick Hensel Robert and Barbara McCrudden Michael Sheu Shirley Wolf Edward Horst Donegal High School Class of 1969 Nancy Fackler Timothy and Fay Pletcher Jan Zimmerman Sylvia Keefer Ginny Kellman Kim Leisey Sherri McGee Audrey Mann James Maurey William McNiff Ruth Turpin Clarence and Linda Mummert Donna Novatnak Nooney Jacob and Nancy Olweiler Richard Rauschkolb Roy and Diane Bateman George Jr., Bill, Marg, Eugene and Mary Marg Shelley and Mary Beth Schmitt Philip Schnee
John M. Shaud Mary Shaud Shirley L. Shay Kenneth Peifer Marion B. Thomas Sally Stoltz Eugene and Marjorie Tierney Ray and Annette Tierney Nancy B. Tondora Lisa and Sekhar Ramaswamy E. Louise Tumolo Norma and Ken Mayo Anthony F. Vitas Delores Vitas Marilyn L. Vollrath Lois Vollrath-Mena Mary “Betty” Weidman John and Carla Weidman Keith E. Wittig John Rintz Michael W. Zelinski
Gifts received May 1 - July 31
Virginia Basehore Irene Blaskiewicz Ann L. Dinsmore William D. Faulhaber Elizabeth “Betty” Kissel June Novatnak
Theda Wagner Shirley Wolf Craig Dayton Theda Wagner Theda Wagner Donna Novatnak Nooney
Wish List Contributors Gifts received May 1 - July 31
Robert D. and Lisa A. Geer
Hospice’s Wish List Item
Cost Per Item
Ticket to a baseball game
Trip to a local diner
Trip to a local restaurant
Gift card for grocery deliveries
Visit to a local spa
Fill the comfort cart for families staying with a dying loved one
Week at the shore for a patient and their family
MASONIC VILLAGE HOSPICE 98 Masonic Drive, Suite 101 â€˘ Elizabethtown, PA 17022 717-361-8449 â€˘ MasonicVillageHospice.org
Who We Are Since 2009, Masonic Villageâ€™s trained, compassionate hospice staff have cared for thousands of patients and their families, focusing on the physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs of patients so they may complete their lives joyfully. Our hospice staff promote comfort and self-determination, enabling patients to participate in making decisions about their care. Based in Elizabethtown, Masonic Village Hospice is pleased to offer services to patients in the comfort of their homes throughout Lancaster, Dauphin, Lebanon and Eastern York counties.
Open for Everyone. Masonic Village Hospice does not discriminate against any person on the basis of race, color, religion, disability, ancestry, national origin, familial status, age, sex, limited English proficiency (LEP) or any other protected status in admission, treatment or participation in its programs, services and activities, or in employment. Masonic Village Hospice cumple con las leyes federales de derechos civiles aplicables y no discrimina por motivos de raza, color, nacionalidad, edad, discapacidad o sexo. Masonic Village Hospice iss willich, die Gsetze (federal civil rights) vun die Owwerichkeet zu folliche un duht alle Leit behandle in der seem Weg. Es macht nix aus, vun wellem Schtamm ebber beikummt, aus wellem Land die Voreldre kumme sinn, was fer en Elt ebber hot, eb ebber en Mann iss odder en Fraa, verkrippelt iss odder net.