When the COVID-19 pandemic put a hold on patient visits and deliveries, Judi Hittle, a volunteer with Ohio’s Hospice of Miami County, was not able to visit her own mother at Piqua Manor. So, she decided to begin chalking messages outside her mother’s window. From spring flowers to fall pumpkins to holiday decorations, Hittle has been spreading some seasonal joy with her mother and other residents.
During the spring, she painted flowers on each patient window. Then, in the fall, she helped staff clean the windows, and she painted pumpkins on each patient window.
She has continued to leave special messages for her mother. In the fall, she placed a scarecrow display outside her mother’s window. More recently, she placed Santa Grinch in a sleigh with a full-size Christmas tree, which lights up at night for her mother and other residents to see outside their windows.
“It is something to brighten up each resident’s window while being shut in,” Hittle said. “I feel that putting seasonal artwork on their windows gives them something colorful to look at and enjoy while embracing the seasonal changes.”
Hittle can identify with families who cannot see their loved ones, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Personally, the past eight months have been very challenging and frustrating for families of loved ones in facilities. The lack of socialization and personal contact really takes its toll and is evident when you see them through the windows,” Hittle said. “If I can make someone smile by painting on their window and waving hello, it is well worth my time to share some love to these wonderful people.”
Hittle’s dedication to bringing joy to her mother and the residents at Piqua Manor has not gone unnoticed. “Judi continues to bring so many smiles to our residents and staff with her paintings and drawings,” said Pepper Pegg, administrator at Piqua Manor. “We appreciate her dedication.”
After retiring from Covington Exempted Village Schools in 2008, Judi Hittle wanted to get involved with a local organization to volunteer her time and came to Ohio’s Hospice of Miami County.
“I am proud to say that I have been a volunteer for more than 10 years, and I have facilitated the Petals of Sunshine flower program the whole time,” Hittle said. “I love creating flower arrangements for our patients each month and delivering them to our patients. It’s amazing how a simple vase of flowers can bring a smile to one’s face, even during difficult times. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the monthly flower program has been limited to just a few months this year. That’s where the inspiration came from for painting flowers on windows….because we care.”
Ohio’s Hospice of Miami County is grateful for volunteers like Hittle. “We’re thankful for volunteers like Judi who do all they can to support the mission of Ohio’s Hospice of Miami County,” said Carey Short, executive director of Ohio’s Hospice of Miami County. “Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Judi is bringing joy to patients.”
Ohio’s Hospice of Miami County, an affiliate of Ohio’s Hospice, has been serving patients in Miami County since 1983. The not-for-profit hospice is dedicated to improving the quality of life for those facing life-limiting illnesses. Its outstanding care has earned recognition from the prestigious Hospice Honors program of HEALTHCAREfirst and Deyta Analytics.