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During the Heat Wave: Check on the Elderly

With the recent excessive heat wave warnings, The Elizabeth Hospice would like to remind families and neighbors to check on elderly loved ones who may be home-bound or frail. According to, seniors are at risk for heat stroke during hot weather because:

  • Their bodies don’t adjust as well to sudden changes in temperature.
  • Chronic medical conditions can change their body responses to heat.
  • Prescription medicines can impair their body’s ability to regulate temperature or could actually prevent sweating.

In general, it’s best for older adults to stay indoors and avoid strenuous activities in hot weather.

If you are a family caregiver and live away from your elderly loved one, call and check on your loved one to connect and assess their well being. Also, ask a trusted local friend (and someone your loved one knows and recognizes) to check on your loved one during excessive weather conditions, and let your loved one know you are doing that.

Many local government and community agencies provide services to check on the elderly. In San Diego County, local authorities provide the following community services:

“You Are Not Alone” YANA Checks
If you know someone who is elderly or physically challenged and also alone, Police volunteers can stop by and check on these people regularly. To request this service, contact your local area station. Find the area station near you.

Take me Home Program
The “Take Me Home” Program is a regional photo-based information system hosted by the Sheriff’s Department accessible by all Law Enforcement in San Diego. It is designed to assist Law Enforcement (Police and Sheriff) during contacts with members of the community who have disabilities such as, but not limited to Autism, Dementia, Alzheimer’s, Down syndrome, deafness or any other Developmental Disabilities. Take Me Home Information.

Share these tips to help keep elderly and frail individuals safe during these hot weather conditions.

Myths and Facts about Hospice Care

Based on a survey of San Diego County residents to determine the awareness of hospice care in our community, results showed that the majority of County residents had heard of hospice. However, more than half of the respondents were not able to name any hospice services. Most did not know that hospice services include support for family members as well as for the patient,  special programs for children, and bereavement support. In addition, many people are not aware that most insurance programs cover the cost of hospice care. We have developed a list of the most common myths and facts about hospice care, to help improve the understanding of this health care benefit, and have included some of the information below:

Myth: Medicare provides only six months of hospice care, so enrollment should be delayed as long as possible.
Fact: Medicare law does not time-limit the hospice benefit. Patients have access to the Medicare Hospice Benefit as long as the patient’s physician and the hospice medical director certify that the patient’s illness is still considered “terminal,” with an estimated life-expectancy of six months or less.


Myth: All hospice programs provide the same services.
Fact: Even in the same community, hospice programs can differ in the services and/or treatments that are offered to patients and their family members. Currently, there are dozens of different hospice programs in San Diego and Southwest Riverside Counties, all independent of each other. In most cases, individuals can choose which hospice program to receive services from. The Elizabeth Hospice is the most experienced nonprofit hospice program in San Diego County, with a 40-year history of providing the most comprehensive hospice and palliative care services for adults and children.

For more information, ask your doctor about hospice or palliative care services, or call The Elizabeth Hospice toll-free at 800.797.2050. Information is also available online at

Reflecting on Father's Day

Reflecting on Father’s Day

Father’s Day evokes a wide spectrum of memories and emotions for many people, but for someone whose father is deceased, it can be particularly bittersweet. The role and significance of a father or a father figure in one’s life can vary infinitely—as much as individual personalities and extended families vary. However, in some unfathomable way—regardless of how intimate or conflicted the relationship; how dramatic or reserved our expressions of feelings for one another; how deeply we try to emulate or avoid any resemblance to our fathers—they leave an indelible mark on our hearts, and impact us in profound ways.

For many, losing our parents is the final step into full adulthood and into a greater sense of our own identity, as well as our own mortality. Alexander Levy, in his book, The Orphaned Adult, said: “In adulthood, parents are like the rearview mirror of a car, making it safe to operate, as we head into the unknown, by providing a glimpse of where and who we have been so we can better understand where and who we are becoming.”

Perhaps one of the ways we best honor our deceased loved ones, or honor our own pain, is to tell the stories of them that hold meaning for us. If you are grieving the loss of your father this Father’s Day, you might choose to tell those stories to your children, your siblings, or in a grief support group. Or you may choose to write your stories, or tell them through art or music, or through any means of sharing that resonates with you. Tell about going to your first Padres’ game together, or about a conversation with him you’ll never forget, or about the day he taught you drive a stick shift. Tell about his sense of humor or his ability to grill the perfect steak. Tell about the disappointments, and about the relationship with him you wish you’d had. Or tell about the day you said goodbye, and what you now miss the most. The important thing is to pause long enough to remember and express our stories—the simple, pleasant ones, or perhaps the more complicated, painful ones. Each in their own way, pay tribute to the person we knew and to the memories we carry with us.

Wherever you are this Father’s Day, may you be comforted and supported by those who care about you. And if you could benefit from additional support, please allow the grief professionals at The Elizabeth Hospice to come alongside and walk with you on your journey, helping you discover valuable ways of coping with your unique loss. We would be honored to hear your stories.

Paula Bunn, LMFT, FT
Manager, Grief Counseling Services
The Elizabeth Hospice

In the News: Death from Suicide

This week’s news of the deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain from suicide, remind us of the reality that behind every face is a story, and often, we have no idea how painful or hopeless that story is to the one living it.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), suicide is among the leading causes of death in the United States. Suicide rates increased in nearly every state from 1999 through 2016. One of the glaring myths about suicide is that it is always the result of mental illness. However, studies have shown that suicide is rarely caused by any single factor. Factors that can contribute to suicide include substance misuse, financial or legal stress, a recent crisis, or relationship issues.

Learning more about the warning signs for suicide and what we can do to help is important. Online resources such as list the following:

 Warning Signs for Suicide
• Talking about wanting to die
• Looking for a way to kill oneself
• Talking about feeling hopeless or having no purpose
• Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
• Talking about being a burden to others
• Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
• Acting anxious, agitated, or recklessly
• Sleeping too little or too much
• Withdrawing or feeling isolated
• Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
• Displaying extreme mood swings

If you need help for yourself or someone else, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:

• Talk: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

• Chat:

For those of you who have lost someone to suicide, we humbly acknowledge your unique burden of loss. Surely, suicide leaves a wake of devastation in its path that rocks us to our very roots. We want you to know that although you may likely never fully understand why, you can work through the pain, adjust to the hole left by someone’s absence, and move forward with renewed hope. It can be a long process, but we are here to walk alongside you. Call us and allow us the honor of supporting you on your journey.

At The Elizabeth Hospice, our grief support services are available to the community-at-large, regardless if a person was on hospice or the type of death experienced. Contact us today to find out more about how we can help at 800.797.2050 or learn about our ongoing grief support groups and services on our website.

Paula Bunn, Manager
The Elizabeth Hospice Grief Counseling Services

We Honor Veterans

Veterans Caring for Veterans

Please join The Elizabeth Hospice at our quarterly Veterans Caring for Veterans volunteer meeting and information session.

Thursday, February 1, 2018
10:00 to 11:00 a.m.

Location: North Inland Live Well – Military and Veteran Resource Center
649 West Mission Avenue, Escondido 92025

The Elizabeth Hospice Vet-to-Vet Volunteer Program aims to pair recruited Veteran Volunteers with hospice patients who have been identified as Veterans. Once paired with hospice patients who also have military experience, Veteran Volunteers have the unique
ability to relate and connect with Veteran patients and their families.

For nearly 40 years, volunteers have helped to support the nonprofit mission of The Elizabeth Hospice. Explore the many opportunities to share your time, talent, and treasure as an Elizabeth Hospice volunteer here.


Celebration of Life for Elizabeth “Betty” Bulen set for January 13, 2018

A public Celebration of Life ceremony, honoring The Elizabeth Hospice Founder Elizabeth “Betty” Bulen, will be from 3 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, January 13, 2018, at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido. For more information or to RSVP, call (760) 796-3797 or email

The article below is reposted from the San Diego Union-Tribune:

Celebration of Life planned for founder of Elizabeth Hospice
by Reporter Linda McIntosh, Dec. 21, 2017
San Diego Union-Tribune

A community-wide Celebration of Life, in honor of Elizabeth “Betty” Bulen, founder of Escondido-based nonprofit The Elizabeth Hospice, is set for Jan. 13 at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido.

Bulen died Dec. 2 at an assisted living home in Escondido where she had moved two and a half years ago from her Escondido home. She was 98.

She founded The Elizabeth Hospice with several friends in 1978 after visiting the founder of St. Christopher’s Hospice in London. Inspired by the meeting, Bulen, with help from friends Betty Benz, Ann Elizabeth Warren and Kay Elizabeth Austin, established the hospice in Escondido. Since then the nonprofit has grown to include 350 staff and 400 volunteers who work to bring comfort to the dying and help families during their loved one’s final days.

“Betty helped to build a community around the hospice movement in North San Diego County in 1978, when few even knew what hospice care was,” said Jan Jones, president and CEO of The Elizabeth Hospice.

Bulen was born on Sept. 29, 1919, in Massachusetts and is the eldest of three children of the Rev. Russell W. Bosworth, a Methodist pastor, and his wife, Helen.

When she was 7, her father died from scarlet fever. During high school she wrote a paper on death and dying.

After graduating from high school, Bulen began nurse training in 1938 at Maine General Hospital and graduated in June 1941. She joined the Army in 1944 and served as a second lieutenant working in a children’s ward before getting transferred to the Philippines to care for the sick and injured in Biak at the evacuation hospital.

She returned to the United States in December 1945 and was awarded the Bronze Star for meritorious service in the Philippines. Soon after returning home, she met Jim Bulen, a doctor in training for the Army Air Force. They married on Aug. 25, 1946, in his hometown of Escondido and moved to Vermont for medical school, where they had their first of five children, Ann, and later moved back to Escondido after spending several years in Japan and Texas.

While the family lived in Japan, Bulen learned Japanese flower arranging, a skill she drew on to make floral arrangements for area churches.

Bulen was also a founding member of the Rancho Bernardo “Light of Life” Religious Science Church in 1996.

Bulen is survived by her sister Lois, her five children and their spouses, 21 grandchildren and many great-grandchildren.

The public Celebration of Life ceremony will be from 3 to 5 p.m. at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido. For more information or to RSVP, call (760) 796-3797 or email

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to The Elizabeth Hospice. Visit or call (800) 797-2050.


The link to the original article is here:

Elizabeth “Betty” Bulen, Founder of The Elizabeth Hospice, has died at 98

Dec. 2, 2017 – The Founder of San Diego County’s longest-running nonprofit hospice program, Elizabeth “Betty” Bulen, has died. She was 98. It is especially fitting that the compassionate, expert care Betty helped to provide to thousands of terminally ill San Diegans for nearly 40 years, was provided to Betty at the end of her life, through The Elizabeth Hospice.

“Betty was the catalyst for a long tradition of caring for those facing a serious illness. Her aspiration to bring comfort to those nearing their end-of-life journey will live on as her philosophy and desire to help others continues to inspire the team of staff and volunteers here at The Elizabeth Hospice,” said Jan Jones, president and CEO of The Elizabeth Hospice.

In 1978, few knew the word hospice. However, Betty, a registered nurse, held a vision of what this philosophy of care could mean to her community. She invited three of her friends: Betty “Elizabeth” Benz, Ann Elizabeth Warren and Kay “Elizabeth” Austin to work with her in establishing an organization of compassionate volunteers, devoted to offering care to the terminally ill and their families. That organization is The Elizabeth Hospice, which shares the name of all the founders.

As a nurse, Betty had a concern about the quality of life for those nearing the end of their journey. She wanted to bring comfort to those most in need, not only by providing medical care, but also by providing emotional and spiritual support.

Betty was fully aware of the challenges that lay ahead in the establishment of the first hospice in North San Diego County. In 1978, Betty shared with a local news reporter, “I think the main reason hospices have not been that popular in the United States is that Americans have an unhealthy attitude toward death. As the late English historian Arnold Toynbee said, ‘Americans consider death to be un-American.’”

Taking on challenges was nothing new to Betty. She spent time as an Army nurse in the Philippines during World War II, later married an Air Force surgeon and raised five children. Betty received the United Way Silver Bowl award in recognition of her faithful dedication to making her hospice dream a reality. This was followed in 1995 by national recognition for Betty when she was named the National Hospice Organization’s Volunteers Are the Foundation of Hospice Award.

To strengthen her hospice vision, Betty and Ms. Benz paid a visit to the St. Christopher and St. Barnabas hospices in London. Inspired, they came home to organize the first agency meeting and develop an inaugural board of directors. In less than a year, 20 hospice volunteers were meeting the special needs of eight terminally ill patients in North San Diego County. The Elizabeth Hospice was incorporated in August 1978 and opened its first office – a small house on Kalmia St. in Escondido with six staff members, in 1979.

The Elizabeth Hospice was only one of 59 hospice care programs operating in the United States back in 1978. Today, The Elizabeth Hospice is the largest community-based nonprofit program in the region with more than 350 paid staff and 400 dedicated volunteers, caring for patients and their families throughout San Diego County and the Inland Empire.

The Elizabeth Hospice is proud to continue Betty’s legacy in caring for terminally ill adults and children in our community. “We encourage people to live, really live, before they die. People think that hospice is about dying, but it’s really about celebrating life.”

Information regarding the memorial service and celebration of life for Betty will be announced as details become available.

About The Elizabeth Hospice
The Elizabeth Hospice is the region’s most experienced and largest nonprofit hospice and palliative care provider of medical, emotional and spiritual support to the seriously ill and their families in San Diego and the Inland Empire. Since 1978, The Elizabeth Hospice has touched the lives of more than 95,000 patients and families in the communities we serve, regardless of their ability to pay, and providing specialty services such as Veterans Outreach, Palliative Care, Pediatric and Perinatal Hospice Care. In addition to patient care, community counseling and grief support for all ages is provided through its Center for Compassionate Care, regardless of the type of illness or death experienced. To learn more, call (800) 797-2050 or visit online at


Media Contacts: Lisa Marcolongo: (760) 644-4426; Melissa DelaCalzada: (760) 703-6795

The Elizabeth Hospice is honored with national award from Disabled American Veterans (DAV)

The Elizabeth Hospice, an Escondido, California-based company that makes it part of their business strategy to hire veterans, received the DAV (Disabled American Veterans) Outstanding Midsize Employer of the Year award on July 30 during the 96th DAV National Convention in New Orleans.

“I am grateful they are making a singular effort to hire veterans who are able to provide comfort and care for fellow veterans entering the final stages of life.”

The Elizabeth Hospice empowers hospice professionals to meet the unique needs of dying veterans. They strive to bring comfort to patients with a history of military service by matching hospice patients with fellow veteran staff or volunteers.

The organization currently has 15 veterans on staff and is actively recruiting more through DAV Veterans Career Fairs. Eight percent of the company’s volunteers are also veterans.

“On behalf of the board of directors, leadership, staff and volunteers of The Elizabeth Hospice, it is a privilege to spend time with veterans and their families and thank them for their service to our country. The Elizabeth Hospice is proud to recognize those who have done our country a great honor, by allowing our organization to honor them with great care,” said Jan Jones, CEO and president of The Elizabeth Hospice.

“The Elizabeth Hospice combines compassion and caring to veterans who are preparing to pass on, while actively hiring veterans to care for our unique population,” said DAV National Commander Dave Riley. “I am grateful they are making a singular effort to hire veterans who are able to provide comfort and care for fellow veterans entering the final stages of life.”

“This organization recruits and hires veterans as well as seeks out veteran volunteers,” said DAV National Employment Director Jeff Hall. “This profession is truly a sacred duty, and I’m grateful for their kindness and empathy for the men and women who served.”

About DAV:

DAV empowers veterans to lead high-quality lives with respect and dignity. It is dedicated to a single purpose: fulfilling our promises to the men and women who served. DAV does this by ensuring that veterans and their families can access the full range of benefits available to them; fighting for the interests of America’s injured heroes on Capitol Hill; providing employment resources to veterans and their spouses; and educating the public about the great sacrifices and needs of veterans transitioning back to civilian life. DAV, a nonprofit organization with nearly 1.3 million members, was founded in 1920 and chartered by the U. S. Congress in 1932.

About The Elizabeth Hospice:

Founded in 1978, The Elizabeth Hospice is a pioneer in the hospice movement and regarded as the most experienced and largest nonprofit hospice program in the region, with services provided throughout San Diego and South Riverside County (Inland Empire). With compassion and expertise, our extensive array of care services include hospice care, palliative care, and counseling services are available to adults and children living with a serious illness, along with comprehensive support for their loved ones. In addition, our Center for Compassionate Care provides counseling and grief support to all ages experiencing the loss of a loved one, regardless of the type of death or illness experienced.

Communication Tips During the Holidays

As we move into the Winter season (although sunny here in California), family gatherings are commencing to celebrate holidays and religious observances taking place. But for some, getting together for the holidays with family can be very stressful. Particularly if members haven’t seen each other in awhile, or perhaps situations occurred in the past that caused tension or discord, an upcoming family gathering can be met with great anxiety.

According to Dr. Marlynn Wei, the practice of mindfulness can help to bring calm and reduce anxiety. Being fully present in the moment can help. In her recent article in Psychology Today, she explains that mindfulness is about being present in the moment – what’s happening “now” – both internally and externally, and has been shown to reduce stress in relationships, increase empathy, and reduce internal stress and anxiety.

Healthcare professionals at The Elizabeth Hospice also agree that active listening is an essential part of effective communication between family members and loved ones. Clearing your mind of other distractions and focusing on who you are with and what is being said at that moment can bring greater awareness, understanding, and meaningful connectedness with those you are with.

These tips can help to make your family gathering a time of joy, comfort, and fulfillment.

Your Primary Care Physician and the Hospice Care Team: Partners in Caring

One of the important aspects of hospice care is the interdisciplinary team approach to providing services that focus on the physical, emotional, social, and spiritual needs of patients, as well as providing support and education for family members.

The hospice interdisciplinary team includes physicians, nurses, home health aides, social workers, counselors, chaplains, therapists and trained volunteers. There is a misperception that once a patient elects hospice care services, they can no longer keep their personal doctor, which is not the case. The fact is, the hospice care team partners with the patient and the patient’s primary care physician in providing comprehensive services in support of the patient’s goals for care.

For more information about how hospice care, contact the professionals at The Elizabeth Hospice toll-free at 800.797.2050 or visit the website for additional details.