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Volunteers who serve the dying

TAYLORSVILLE, Utah (ABC 4 News)- An army of volunteers is quietly serving senior citizens as they prepare to die. The patients have asked for doctors to withhold treatment if they have a life ending complication.
"Helped me to change my perspective about life and to change the way I think about certain things. To slow down and enjoy the moments you have right now," -Joel Tippetts
TAYLORSVILLE, Utah (ABC 4 News)- An army of volunteers is quietly serving senior citizens.  They have asked doctors to back away if they have a life ending complication.

ABC 4 is spotlighting a young volunteer providing comfort for a Taylorsville man in the twilight of his life.

Every Friday at 10 a.m. 32-year-old Joel Tippetts visits 91-year-old John Cornish. The men are separated by 59 years, but have developed a surprisingly strong bond as they've grown to know each other over the past year.

"John, how are you buddy?" asked Joel. "Fine," John replied.

Joel is one of 20 Rocky Mountain Hospice volunteers in Salt Lake and Tooele counties.

"John, what have you been up to this week bud?" Joel asked.

Each of the volunteers give their time without compensation.  They serve to provide comfort and assistance.  "We talk.  We both like to read," said John.

The service is also for John's wife.  "This is just a life saver to me...the thing that I find hard with being a caregiver is you tend to feel like your in a prison.  You can't even go to the pharmacy," said Joy Cornish.

John is blind and in a wheel chair.  Joel's visits allow Joy to leave without worry or guilt.

"It's really nice to be able to offer that to Joy.  I know that being a caretaker at times can be overwhelming, because you still have all the regular duties that anybody else has in life," Joel said.

Joel discovered something during the visits.  His older friend John has a lot to offer including wisdom and perspective.  "Helped me to change my perspective about life and to change the way I think about certain things.  To slow down and enjoy the moments you have right now," said Joel.

At least 20 hospice patients who would like volunteers don't have anyone to come visit. 

Click on the attached link to learn how you can get involved.

Rocky Mountain Hospice is a highly organized volunteer organization. Medicare will only pay 100 percent of hospice coverage if five percent of the care comes from volunteers.




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