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Honolulu Advertiser, Nov. 21, A Final Thanks for the Gentle Smiles 
Barbara Dullin

A Final Thanks for the Gentle Smiles

Looking out my window I see a beautiful blue sky, white fluffy clouds, and trees gently swaying in light trade winds.

Where am I? I'm a patient at St. Francis Hospice-West in 'Ewa Beach. Many things have been, and continue to be, learned during the experience as a patient. One is realizing that being a caregiver requires a lot of tenderness and a loving heart for this work.

Caregivers are special people whom God has chosen to learn the skills and abilities required for this type of work. It is not an easy job and calls for patience and understanding while tending to many frustrating experiences.

While being a caregiver, whether to a stranger or family member, yelling or screaming at a patient to correct a mistake only adds frustration to the situation and makes matters worse instead of making required changes.

A patient becomes much like a child in having to be corrected. Memory loss and loss of personal control are two things that cause agitation for the patient. Having someone who can calmly help the patient through these situations is a tremendous help.

We must realize that caregivers also change our bed linens, keep track of our medications, help with or give us a bath or shower, keep our personal items in neat array, see that we get our food and sometimes even feed us.

It is amazing the effect a soft voice and touch along with a gentle smile can have for a hospice patient.

So, I take this opportunity to thank all the people in this type of work and to let you know that all you do is appreciated.

More than 43 years ago, Barbara Dullin left Michigan to drive cross country to Los Angeles, board a passenger freighter and come to Hawai'i, with her daughter, Linda, to start a new life. Dullin died Tuesday. She was 82.