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Transitions program helps families facing serious illness

By Sharon Davidson,
Big Bend Hospice

The Transitions program from Big Bend Hospice is designed to assist those who have an advancing illness with a prognosis of one year or less to live.

Transitions is a professionally-managed, volunteer-based support system provided in the comfort of your own home — or in an assisted living facility, nursing home or wherever you are calling home at the moment.

There is no fee for Transitions services.

With Transitions, volunteers and social workers provide:

• Friendship and companionship;

• Transportation;

• Relief for caregivers;

• Wellness calls;

• Resource referral;

• Client and caregiver education; and

• Guidance in understanding complex medical decisions.

Since August 2017, Big Bend Hospice has served 54 clients across the Big Bend, resulting in many successes.

The best way to illustrate the impact of Transitions is to share some of these stories:

“Shelby” is a mother of an 11-year-old boy and caregiver to her 80-year-old mother.

She stopped working to care for her mother and has since encountered financial challenges.

The Transitions social worker has linked Shelby to resources for food and assisted in helping Shelby coordinate with her employer to work part-time due to her mother’s advancing illness.

A volunteer, meanwhile, provides companionship to Shelby’s mother to help Shelby get a break.

“Fred” is a fragile, elderly gentleman living in an assisted living facility.

He does not have family in the area and is lonely.

After a Transitions volunteer started visiting Fred on a regular basis, he said, “This is the first time I have felt like I had a friend in a very long time.”

“Nancy” joined the Powerful Tools for Caregivers Support Group and recently moved her mother into a nursing home.

She has been struggling watching her mother — diagnosed with dementia — slowly decline.

After beginning the support group, Nancy said, “I feel as if I have found my people, and I look forward to this night the most out of the week.”

The Transitions Team is proud of these successes, thankful for the honor to be part of people’s life journeys and excited to help others.

For questions about the Transitions Program, contact Bobbie Massey, Transitions program manager, at (850) 671-6036.

Additional information, including support group dates and times, can be found at

Sharon Davidson is the director of volunteer and community services at Big Bend Hospice. She can be reached at or (850) -671-6091.