Hometown News

Hospice Honors Elite Award 2014

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We are pleased to announce that Hometown Hospice has won the national Hospice Honors Elite Award! Hospice Honors is a prestigious program that recognizes hospices providing the highest level of satisfaction as measured from the caregiver’s point of view. ‘Elite’ status is awarded to hospices’ who scored above average on all evaluated questions.

Congratulations to the hard-working and dedicated staff who made this award possible! Your exceptional performance makes Hometown Hospice’s quality of care exceptional!

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Smiles for Seniors

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By Andrea McBride
Staff writer – Tuscola County Advertiser

CARO — It only takes one simple act to make a difference.

Elaine Ewald, founder of the organization Smiles for Seniors, lives by that motto and hopes to recruit others to do the same.

Smiles for Seniors was started by Ewald and her mother Judy Burger in 2006 as a way to give back to area residents in nursing homes and adult foster care homes. Ewald, Burger and their team started a travelling Christmas shop that allows residents to buy Christmas gifts for loved ones.

“It turned into this huge project we do every single year,” Ewald said.

The shop makes 12 to 14 stops in Tuscola County and surrounding counties each year and has had to turn people away due to high demand and not enough helping hands.

“We have so many people asking for us to come, we can’t even get to everybody,” Ewald said. “As our volunteers are getting a little bit older, the only way that our shops are going to continue is if we continue to get people who know how to help us.”

Assisting with the Christmas shop can be as simple as finding new or like new items throughout the year to donate.


More than just a doll

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More than just a doll

By Andrea McBride
Staff Writer

THUMB AREA — It takes Christa Olsen about a day to knit one of her German elf dolls, but the impact they have lasts much longer.
Olsen, 86 of Harbor Beach, is a volunteer for Hometown Home Health & Hospice in Lapeer. She gives her knitted dolls to Elaine Ewald, a hospice nurse for the company. Ewald then gifts them to each of her new hospice patients.

Ewald said her patients often name their new doll and cherish it.
“I think the older patients really like them because they’re handmade and that’s a big connection for them,” Ewald said.
In return for Olsen’s generosity, Ewald arranged a surprise.
Olsen thought she was just being taken to lunch, but Ewald and some other individuals surprised her with a Certificate of Appreciation and a bouquet of flowers.

“She’s always making things,” Ewald said. “She’s always willing to give, so it was just really nice to have a day be her day.”
To truly see the impact her dolls have made, Ewald then took Olsen to Sebewaing and Heritage Hill Assisted Living in Caro to meet patients who have received them.

Ewald said Olsen was humble through the whole experience and it was evident she doesn’t mind working for hours to carefully knit each one-of-a-kind doll.

Olsen has made more than 30 dolls, and the way each one can make life a little less serious for her patients is something Ewald is thankful for.

“When I meet a hospice patient for the first time, they’re often scared or they’re anticipating that going on hospice is going to be a real negative thing.”

When I can go in and give them something on the first visit, and we can laugh and joke around and look at the doll and name it and make it be a little more light hearted, they just … feel less afraid, and it’s just a really great introduction.”

Andrea McBride
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