Death is a part of all our lives, as we lose loved ones and eventually face our own passing. 

Rachel Langendahl, volunteer coordinator at Interim HealthCare Hospice, spoke to the Waunakee Rotary Club Oct. 12 about the work she does helping line up volunteers for those needing hospice care. 

While many don’t like to talk about death, Rachel said we should not be afraid to. Hospice volunteers actually help those through their final journey, along with their loved ones.

Rachel shared personal stories about her own experiences losing her paternal grandmother and maternal grandmother. She recalled spending the last night of her maternal grandmother’s life with her at the nursing home, watching over her. 

When a close friend had ALS, Rachel became a companion to her in hospice. 

“I have learned so much about living as well as dying,” she said, adding being part of people’s lives during this sacred time is an honor. 

Hospice volunteers do a number of things when they visit, including playing cards or music. 

Many people are uncomfortable about seeking hospice care, Rachel said, mainly due to myths about it. But she stressed that the care usually takes place in the patients’ homes, is paid for by Medicare, and focuses on maximizing the quality of the patient’s life. 

Some individuals’ health improves through hospice care and they are able to discontinue it for a time. 

Rachel recommended the book, “Final Gifts,” by two hospice nurses, then read a section about how one of the authors helped a patient feel comforted as she passed knowing her husband had planned for it. 


Other News: 

-Food for Kidz was a success with Rotary’s help. 

-The club’s board of director approved contributions as follows: $1,000 for Shelter Box; $1,000 for Waunakee Neighborhood Connection; $250 for Shop with a Cop.

-Nancy Thomas has joined the board of directors to take Lisa Humenik’s place. Lisa resigned now that she is working in Madison, 

-Remember to bring cereal and peanut butter during the club assembly meetings, the last Thursday of the month.

-The club watched a video about the Rotary International Foundation. Rotarians are asked to contribute $100 per year, and goes toward matching local and international global grants totalling millions of dollars each year. Those matching grants have helped pay for Waunakee club projects at the SOAR Kenya school, and locally the Rotary Pier and solar lights at the Waunakee Dog Park. 


Upcoming Events

-Oct. 21 - Halloween at the Farm (Schumacher)

Guests: Rachel Langendahl

Visiting Rotarians: None

Birthdays: Oct. 21, Linda Olson

Anniversaries:. Oct. 22, Dean and Kathy Grosskopf; Oct. 24, Max and Katie Ujdak

Greeters: Oct. 19, Alex Welk, Dan Statz and Todd Schmidt; Oct. 26, Kylie West, Liz Mueller and Craig Bauer. To sign up to greet, visit: