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Meet Tom Folkert

Thomas Folkert is the Vice President- Advance Planning at Horan & McConaty. He attended Hope College in Holland, Michigan and is a Certified Pre-planning Consultant. Tom has been in funeral service for 37 years.  Here’s what he had to say about living well and being prepared.

What does “Live Well” mean to you? I am active in my church and serve on the board of the St. Martin’s Chamber Choir. I enjoy exploring new sites in the Greater Denver area.

What is the most important thing families should know about you? I am passionate about the delivery of a quality funeral service. My family has been in this profession for over 100 years, and I am proud to be a part of it.

Why is it so important to preplan? Life takes many turns.  There are many things we need in life; transportation, food, lodging, the love of a family and unfortunately, someday, we will all need a funeral.  It’s important to make decisions with the one’s you love, when you have the resources to do so.  Decisions made together are more sound than decisions made after someone is gone.

What is the most important thing families should know about Horan & McConaty? I wish families could understand the dignity and respect that is shown by our care center and crematory staff in every case.  The level of professionalism here is unsurpassed.

Why should families choose Horan & McConaty? When they deal with Horan & McConaty they can be assured that they are dealing with people who have the highest ethical standards.

Call Tom today to start the conversation.  He can be reached at 303-743-8804 or if you’d prefer you can email him at tfolkert@HoranCares.com.

February 2014 Hospice Caregiver of the Month Award

Felisha Bjelde is the winner of the February Hospice Caregiver Award, presented by Horan & McConaty.  Felisha was nominated by Lori Bennett who submitted the following letter explaining why she nominated Felisha.

Felisha Bjelde works with my mom who lives in Cedars HealthCare center. She does her hair and take special care in getting her ready/showering and has a very large positive attitude. Felisha’s care of my mom has really helped my mom’s attitude in these times. (My mom has dementia and it can be especially difficult to do hair, showering, personal hygiene etc.)

 With great thanks,

Lori Bennett

Each monthly Caregiver Award winner will receive a gift card that can be used for whatever the recipient decides and an award.

At the end of twelve months the review committee will select the Caregiver of the Year to be revealed at a banquet honoring the twelve finalists. The Caregiver of the Year will win a trip for two within Colorado.

Do you know a Caregiver? Nominate them today!

Why You Should Always Attend the Funeral… Even When It’s Uncomfortable

We often hear of someone that was unsure whether or not they should attend a funeral, or whether or not they were expected to attend. Today, we are sharing a story of a young woman who believes in always attending the funeral.  “Always Go to the Funeral” is a beautiful essay by Deirdre Sullivan about how her father taught her to go to funerals. She writes:

I believe in always going to the funeral. My father taught me that.

The first time he said it directly to me, I was 16 and trying to get out of going to calling hours for Miss Emerson, my old fifth grade math teacher. I did not want to go. My father was unequivocal. “Dee,” he said, “you’re going. Always go to the funeral. Do it for the family.”

So my dad waited outside while I went in. It was worse than I thought it would be: I was the only kid there. When the condolence line deposited me in front of Miss Emerson’s shell-shocked parents, I stammered out, “Sorry about all this,” and stalked away. But, for that deeply weird expression of sympathy delivered 20 years ago, Miss Emerson’s mother still remembers my name and always says hello with tearing eyes.

That was the first time I went un-chaperoned, but my parents had been taking us kids to funerals and calling hours as a matter of course for years. By the time I was 16, I had been to five or six funerals. I remember two things from the funeral circuit: bottomless dishes of free mints and my father saying on the ride home, “You can’t come in without going out, kids. Always go to the funeral.”

Sounds simple — when someone dies, get in your car and go to calling hours or the funeral. That, I can do. But I think a personal philosophy of going to funerals means more than that.

“Always go to the funeral” means that I have to do the right thing when I really, really don’t feel like it. I have to remind myself of it when I could make some small gesture, but I don’t really have to and I definitely don’t want to. I’m talking about those things that represent only inconvenience to me, but the world to the other guy. You know, the painfully under-attended birthday party. The hospital visit during happy hour. The Shiva call for one of my ex’s uncles. In my humdrum life, the daily battle hasn’t been good versus evil. It’s hardly so epic. Most days, my real battle is doing good versus doing nothing.

In going to funerals, I’ve come to believe that while I wait to make a grand heroic gesture, I should just stick to the small inconveniences that let me share in life’s inevitable, occasional calamity.

On a cold April night three years ago, my father died a quiet death from cancer. His funeral was on a Wednesday, middle of the workweek. I had been numb for days when, for some reason, during the funeral, I turned and looked back at the folks in the church. The memory of it still takes my breath away. The most human, powerful and humbling thing I’ve ever seen was a church at 3:00 on a Wednesday full of inconvenienced people who believe in going to the funeral.

Deirdre Sullivan grew up in Syracuse, and traveled the world working odd jobs before attending law school at Northwestern University. She’s now a freelance attorney living in Brooklyn. Sullivan says her father’s greatest gift to her and her family was how he ushered them through the process of his death.

Dee has chosen to attend funerals, and has made it a part of her life, not allowing herself the option of not attending. We encourage our readers today to also consider making this part of your philosophy. For those in the depths of grief, few things mean more than being surrounded by people whose presence acknowledges the pain, gives comfort, and provides a powerfully important sense that they are not alone in all of this.

Perhaps we should all take Dee’s father’s advice, “You can’t come in without going out, kids. Always go to the funeral.”

Our First Hospice Caregiver of the Month Award for 2014

Andrea Helsel is the winner of the January Hospice Caregiver Award, presented by Horan & McConaty.  Andrea was nominated by Nancy and Mike Hallowell who submitted the following letter explaining why they nominated Julie.

Andrea Helsel may be small in stature, but the impact she has on the patients, family, staff and volunteers at Porter Hospice Residence is immense. Andrea has a tireless dedication to her work and an amazing capacity to meet the diverse needs of those she serves. In a typical day, Andrea will meet with families to discuss and coordinate hospice admission. She will listen to their concerns, patiently answering their questions and providing compassionate emotional support as families struggle through this difficult time. Once in the residence, Andrea continues to support the patients and families also helping staff and volunteers when there are issues such as family feuds and other dysfunctions that arise as individuals near the end of their life. Andrea has a truly gift to be fully present and to truly listen to those around her. Andrea also goes out of her way to coordinate special treats for patients. One of the patients, for instance, was a huge Broncos and Tim Tebow fan. Andrea arranged for him to attend a game and to meet his favorite quarterback. The patient was never happier and talked about that special day for several weeks. In another instance, one of the patients was an animal lover who hadn’t been able to go outside her home or the residence for several months. Thanks to Andrea’s efforts the patient and her son got to have “a jail break,” spending a very special day at the Denver Zoo. It is out honor to nominate Andrea for the Hospice Caregiver Award.

Each monthly Caregiver Award winner will receive a gift card that can be used for whatever the recipient decides and an award.

At the end of twelve months the review committee will select the Caregiver of the Year to be revealed at a banquet honoring the twelve finalists. The Caregiver of the Year will win a trip for two within Colorado.

Do you know a Caregiver? Nominate them today!

 

2013 Caregiver Award Winners

On January 13, 2014, we gathered all our 2013 monthly Hospice Caregiver Award winners, along with their friends and family members to celebrate twelve amazing caregivers in our community.  We shared dinner and the beautiful nominations each of them received last year.  Leslie Abbott, from Agape Hospice, was named Hospice Caregiver of the Year for 2013 and will enjoy a weekend at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs!

Left to Right: Daren Forbes, Vice-President & COO, Horan & McConaty; Jennifer McBride, MA, FT, DM, Vice President, Horan & McConaty; Leslie Abbott, Agape Hospice, 2013 Hospice Caregiver of the Year and John Horan, President, Horan & McConaty.

If you know an outstanding hospice caregiver, please click here to nominate them today!

December Hospice Caregiver Award Recipient

Julie Reil is the winner of the December Hospice Caregiver Award, presented by Horan & McConaty.  Julie was nominated by Ilene Chamberlin (family member) and Claude Krepps, Jr. (patient), who submitted the following letter explaining why they nominated Julie.

Julie Reil is simply the best!!

She is caring, intuitive, gentle and great at making conversation with my brother, drawing him out of “blue” moods and yet, always professional! Claude is almost a new man when he’s spent time with sunny Julie.

Thank heavens for the Julies of this world!

Each monthly Caregiver Award winner will receive a gift card that can be used for whatever the recipient decides and an award.

At the end of twelve months the review committee will select the Caregiver of the Year to be revealed at a banquet honoring the twelve finalists. The Caregiver of the Year will win a trip for two within Colorado.

Do you know a Caregiver? Nominate them today!

 

 

November Hospice Caregiver

Kathy Hilliard, a CNA and RN at Porter House Residence, is the winner of the November Hospice Caregiver Award, presented by Horan & McConaty.  Kathy was nominated by Danielle Andrews, RN, a supervisor at Porter House Residence, who described her with these words…

Kathy Hilliard has been both a CNA and an RN for the Porter Hospice Residence. Her quiet and gentle, knowledgeable care combined with her advocacy for patients, their families and her co-workers often goes unrecognized on a more global level. She is a good person to “ride the river with” as Louis Lamour would often say in his books. I am grateful for her!

Each monthly Caregiver Award winner will receive a gift card that can be used for whatever the recipient decides and an award.

At the end of twelve months the review committee will select the Caregiver of the Year to be revealed at a banquet honoring the twelve finalists. The Caregiver of the Year will win a trip for two within Colorado.

Do you know a Caregiver? Nominate them today!

 

October Hospice Caregiver Award

“Rebecca McDonald is an especially caring social worker who is able to relate to all types of patients and families that she cares for. She is non-judgmental and makes sure the rest of the hospice team does not jump to conclusions about patients and family members. She treats everyone equally and tries to search for all resources that might help in a particular situation. She has a remarkable way of helping the patients and families while still empowering them to act on their own behalf. Rebecca has been especially challenged this month as she has covered 2 other social workers and oriented a new social worker. All of this has been done with a smile on her face and a willingness to help in any urgent situation when needed.

Rebecca has been part of a very difficult case with a young father dying of cancer, a pregnant wife who just recently delivered a new baby, and two year old twins. It is hard to even imagine the emotions in this family. Rebecca, being a new mom herself, has been able to empathize with and support the wife who has been feeling a bit neglected as all of the care seems to focus on her husband. Rebecca truly has it in her heart to provide the best hospice care for the patient and create the best memories for the family.”

Each monthly Caregiver Award winner will receive a gift card that can be used for whatever the recipient decides and an award.

At the end of twelve months the review committee will select the Caregiver of the Year to be revealed at a banquet honoring the twelve finalists. The Caregiver of the Year will win a trip for two within Colorado.

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