Hospice of Central Ohio recently hosted the Annual Fall Conference at Heritage Hall in Newark, OH. The focus of this year’s conference was on the power of community. With over 100 people in attendance, Dr. Adam Weinberg, President of Denison University in Granville, OH, opened the event reminding those in attendance that the power that comes from working together helps shape the community into the type of place we want to live.
Chaplain Mark Pierce of Hospice of Central Ohio, gave an interactive lesson on living with dementia from a patient’s perspective. For people struggling with dementia, it’s often a minute-by -minute, hour-by-hour experience of the unknown, the strange, and the unsettling. In this unique reflection, chaplain Mark “walked” participants into the mind of someone with memory loss, and offered compelling insights into this person’s needs for patience, understanding, and reassurance.
Julie Olds, MMC, Director of Community Relations and Education with Schoedinger Funeral & Cremation, gave a powerful talk on the Importance of the Conversation, stressing the value of having difficult, but necessary end-of-life conversations. Kelly Stansell, LSW, Hospice of Central Ohio, addressed family dynamics at the end of life examining what can trigger stress, the conflicts that come from it, and how to manage it.
Maria Johnson, MSW, LISW-S, ACHP-SW, Bereavement Services Coordinator, Hospice of Central Ohio, led participants through a session on coping with traumatic loss, offering insights into what makes traumatic losses different for surviving family members and friends, what resources are available to those in this situation, and ways that you can offer support.
Keynote speakers Justin Skeesuck and Patrick Gray shared their compelling and uplifting story that has become the subject of a film. Born a little over 36 hours apart, they have been blessed with a lifelong friendship for over 40 years and have shared many adventures.
Justin, who lives with a progressive neuromuscular disease and manages life from a power wheelchair, had the urge to tackle the historical pilgrimage, the Camino de Santiago or Way of St. James. He asked Patrick to join him, and Patrick responded with “I’ll push you!” Their remarkable story of commitment, facing life’s challenges, friendship, and the power of community is the focus of the feature film www.illpushyou.com.
Thank you to our sponsors and those in attendance for making this the 2016 Annual Fall Conference a success!
By Lyndsie MacNeer
Event & Communications Coordinator