Care Dimensions: Volunteer Shares Music, Joy with Hospice Patients

Voices of Care

Volunteer Shares Music, Joy with Hospice Patients

Posted on August 16, 2019 by Care Dimensions

Cindy Shupp, Hospice Volunteer, shares her musical talents with a hospice patient in a long-term-care facility

Two years ago, Cindy Shupp retired from her career as a hospital operating room nurse. She loved providing care and comfort to her patients, but now it was time for a new life chapter.

“In retirement, I knew that I wanted to fill my time with something purposeful,” Cindy says.

She also knew that she wanted to bring her musical talents to her next role. Cindy is an accomplish flautist, and music has always been an important part of her life. 

Both of Cindy’s parents had been in inpatient hospice care. When considering possible volunteer options, Cindy says, “I just felt drawn to hospice and that caring environment.”  

As it turned out, Cindy’s retirement lasted just over two months.

She contacted Care Dimensions to inquire about future volunteer openings. Across the 95 communities in Eastern Massachusetts that we serve, we offer diverse volunteering opportunities, and the next volunteer training was scheduled to start that September.

So Cindy enrolled and completed the required 21-hour training program.  

Post-training, our volunteer coordinators work to match volunteers' skills, interests and backgrounds with individual patient needs.  

Cindy's volunteer-patient match seemed clear: She was passionate about sharing her musical talents with our patients.   

Now, two years on, Cindy makes regular visits to long-term care facilities to play the flute for patients for whom music sharing is appropriate. She works hard to honor each person’s musical preferences and to make the patient feel included in the pieces she chooses to play.    

It works differently with each patient.  Some respond slowly, but she can visibly see how music soothes and brings joy. For others—some of whom are non-verbal—a familiar tune or hymn will bring tears of happiness. Often, the music evokes a past family event. For patients with cognitive issues, Cindy reads the lyrics aloud, then plays the melody.  In some instances, visiting families join their loved ones for a shared musical experience.     

Cindy says:  “I find it rewarding to see and share the joy that music brings. In volunteering with my Care Dimensions patients, I get so much back.”    

Want to make a profound difference in someone's life? Call 888-283-1722 to inquire about our September 2019 new-volunteer training programs in greater Boston and on the North Shore.  Or complete our online volunteer application


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Since 1978, Care Dimensions has provided comprehensive and compassionate care for individuals and families dealing with life-threatening illnesses. As the non-profit leader in advanced illness care, we offer services in more than 95 communities in Eastern Massachusetts.