Health Briefs

Funerals: What is possible

BRATTLEBORO >> On Monday, April 18, from 6 to 8 p.m., Brattleboro Area Hospice will host "Funerals: Traditional and Alternative. What Is Possible?" The event will take place in the Brew Barry Conference Room at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital. This event is free and the public is encouraged to attend.

"Most of what we think of as 'traditional' in funerals is actually a fairly recent invention," said Josh Slocum, Executive Director, Funeral Consumers Alliance, co-author of "Final Rights: Reclaiming the American Way of Death." "There are so many more options today, and some of them are time-honored rituals your own families in the 19th century practiced in their homes when a member died. With the growing rate of cremation and the interest in natural burial grounds, the old and the new are blending and reshaping how we do death."

For more information or to RSVP, contact Patty Dunn, Hospice Program Coordinator, at 802-257-0775, ext. 102, or

Low-vision support group meets April 19

BRATTLEBORO >> Poetry and memory are the subjects of this month's Low Vision Support Group which meets on Tuesday, April 19 from 10 a.m. to noon in Brattleboro.

The group meets regularly on the third Tuesday of the month as part of the Vermont Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired Peer Assisted Learning Support (PALS) program. It is an opportunity for those living with low vision, as well as friends and family who are affected, to share experiences, challenges, and successes. Occasionally, there are speakers on topics such as technology and independent living skills.

Memory skills are important for those who are aging, but even more important for those living with low vision. During this month's low vision support group, we will learn and share some tactics for developing and strengthening memory. April is also national poetry month so we'll be celebrating by sharing some favorite poems as well as the use of poetry to improve memory. Dan Norris, Supervisor of Adult Services for the Vermont Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired will also speak. If you or a loved one lives with low vision, you are welcome to attend.

The Low Vision Support Group meets in the community room, 4th floor of Holton Hall, 130 Austine Way. For more information about attending, call Melinda Underwood, CVRT, at 877-350-8840.

Remembrance flag making event

BRATTLEBORO >> On Tuesday April 26, from 4 to 6 p.m., Brattleboro Area Hospice will offer an opportunity for people to make a remembrance flag to honor someone who has died.

Creating a remembrance flag can be a valuable commemoration activity to help individuals with grief. Children are welcome as long as they are accompanied by a responsible adult. No special talent is needed, and all materials will be provided. The flags will hang at the Hospice Memorial Garden on Guilford Street during the coming year, though participants are welcome to take their flag home with them if they prefer.

This event will take place at Brattleboro Area Hospice, 191 Canal St. Judy Van Wageningen and Cicely Carroll will facilitate. RSVP by April 18. There is no charge for this event.

To register for this free event please contact Joyce at 802-257-0775, ext. 105.

Cancer Society celebrates volunteer week

WILLISTON >> During National Volunteer Week, from April 10 to 16, the American Cancer Society is celebrating the determination and passion of its volunteers who help to save lives, every day.

Each year, volunteers help the Society provide crucial patient services to everyone touched by cancer. In 2014, cancer patients received more than 341,000 rides to and from treatment. Volunteers helped more than 35,000 women with cancer learn how to manage the appearance related side effects of treatment in 2014. In 2014, volunteers provided 10,000 one-on-one support services to those facing or living with breast cancer.

American Cancer Society volunteers help the Society conduct ground-breaking research and fund pioneering scientists. ACS funds researchers with cutting-edge ideas early in their careers; 47 of them have won the Nobel Prize.

Thanks in part to these efforts, there has been a 23-percent decline in cancer deaths over the past 23 years. That's 1.7 million lives saved.

Since 1946, ACS has invested more than $4.3 billion in research grants, and thanks to that research, and that of funded researchers: ACS helped confirm cigarette smoking is linked to lung cancer; helped confirm obesity is linked to multiple cancers; helped develop drugs to treat leukemia and advanced breast cancer; and helped show mammography is the most effective way to detect breast cancer early.

Thanks in part to the work of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, ACS' non-profit, non-partisan advocacy affiliate, and its volunteers, more than 4.6 million women in need have been helped since 1991 through the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program and 49 percent of the U.S. population is covered by a comprehensive smoke-free law.

To learn more, visit

Health care decision day is April 16

BRATTLEBORO >> Taking Steps Brattleboro will join in the nationwide celebration of the right of all adults to think about, talk about and make decisions about advance planning. Projects are underway in every state to help people truly consider their personal beliefs and wishes regarding health care options at times of serious accidents or illness.

In recognition of National Health Care Decision Day on April 16, Taking Steps Bratttleboro is opening its volunteer facilitator training to the general community. Interested community members are encouraged to call to find out more about becoming a part of the Taking Steps Brattleboro team of volunteer advance care planning facilitators.

Taking Steps Brattleboro is a collaborative, community-based initiative intended to vastly increase the numbers of residents in the Brattleboro area who have completed the Advance Care Planning process. The current team of facilitators has just been assigned it's 50th referral.

Community members who enjoy supporting others and are interested in being trained to facilitate adults with their Advance Care Planning should call Joanna Rueter, LICSW, coordinator of Taking Steps Brattleboro at 802-257-0775, ext. 101, by April 22. An application, personal interview, and completion of online training are required prior to the local training that will take place on June 3 and 4.

To find out more about Taking Steps Brattleboro and advance care planning volunteering or to get help with the directive process yourself, call Joanna Rueter at 802-257-0775, ext. 101, or e-mail

Taking Steps Brattleboro a program of Brattleboro Area Hospice, is locally funded and provides all services free of charge. Its office is located at 191 Canal St. For more information about Brattleboro Area Hospice or Taking Steps Brattleboro, visit their website at, or call 802-257-0775 ext. 101. For more information about National Healthcare Decision Day visit


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