I'm a hospice volunteer, but this post includes a video about other forms of volunteering. Hospice volunteering seems a little weird to some people. The idea of freely spending time with terminally ill patients predicted to die within six months appears somewhat bizarre. I have had people insist that hospice volunteering must be depressing, even after I have said it isn't and have enjoyed it for many years.
How do other hospice volunteers feel about their experiences? A hospice volunteer research survey measured motivations to volunteer, satisfaction with the role and the organization, and fear of death and dying. This is what the survey reported:
1) Motivations to volunteer remained over time, and satisfaction increased with time.
2) Fears of death and dying varied by age, volunteer role, and motivations to volunteer. Fears decreased at six months.
Like many other kinds of service, hospice volunteering shows evidence of being a satisfying experience. In terms of depression about death, it appears to help decrease fears about death and dying.
What about other ways of giving service? Why do people choose them? There are so many choices available. In this brief video, five people who volunteer talk about the volunteer choices they made in sports, in the community, with elderly people, at the Paralympics, in a band, and with animals. Remember, good service is always a win-win opportunity for both the giver and receiver.