"We all will die someday. It is important to present this information because most people do not want to die in pain or alone in hospitals, hooked up to machines and cut off from their family and friends and everything familiar," said parish nurse Beverly Simpson of Chatfield's Gathering Place for Seniors at Chatfield United Methodist Church (CUMC).

"They would prefer to be at home, alert and free of pain, among the people and things they love. Hospice is dedicated to making this happen," Simpson continued. "Hospice is an affirmation of life. Hospice enables us to live until we die, our families to live with us as we are dying - and to go on living afterward."

The Gathering Place is hosting a Seasons Hospice presentation, "Hospice Care: Before, During and After the Death of a Loved One," at Chatfield United Methodist Church on Sunday, Feb. 24. Presenters will be sharing information with attendees how to prepare to die at home and how to do so in the way they wish.

"The program is the third in a series of requested end-of-life presentations begun in October. The first was 'Health Directives,' the second was 'Living into Dying,' and this is the third, 'Hospice Care'," Simpson said.

Marianne Maruca, director of the Center for Grief Education and Support, and Michelle Coyle, a clinical nurse and bereavement counselor from Seasons Hospice in Rochester, will be the presenters.

This presentation will not only benefit those with terminal illness, but also those who have yet to become seriously ill. It will help them plan for the future and allow them the time to include their wishes in their end-of-life plan.

"Hospice encourages the patient and family to express priorities so the plan of care will meet their individual needs," Simpson continued. "For all important trips we take, we need to plan wisely if they are to be meaningful to us. The time to learn about hospice is before illness strikes. The earlier hospice is involved, the more it can make the person's final days as comfortable and satisfying as possible."

She pointed out, "This information might be useful for spouses who have had to put their other half in nursing care. One research study says that the family member carrying the burden of care suffers more anxiety, depression and social malfunctioning than the patient. With education about hospice, caregiver stress may be greatly reduced, should the time come when hospice services may be needed."

Participants need not bring anything to the meeting. "I expect there will be handouts available. This 90-minute program will offer the Chatfield community an opportunity to learn about all aspects of hospice care," Simpson explained. "This will be achieved through Powerpoint presentations, lecture and discussion. The presenters will help participants understand the benefits of hospice care and learn about all aspects of hospice care, including bereavement care."

Simpson stated, "At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to state the history of hospice and hospice care, describe its purpose and benefits, explain who it is for, how it is paid for, the members of the hospice team and their roles, when to consider hospice care, clarify what bereavement services and programs include, identify who receives bereavement care, recall where bereavement services and programs are provided, define 'bereavement,' 'grief' and 'mourning,' and understand the processes involved in the journey of grief."

Following the program, participants will be invited to stay for a supper where they can discuss what they have learned.

Seasons Hospice's "Hospice Care: Before, During and After the Death of a Loved One" is slated for Sunday, Feb. 24, at Chatfield United Methodist Church, 124 Winona St. SE, Chatfield, at 4:30 p.m.

Everyone is welcome to attend, but Simpson requested that participants register with her by Saturday, Feb. 23, at (507) 867-0064 to assist in planning for the meal.