CaringMatters (founded in 1989 as Hospice Caring) provides compassionate social supports, without charge, through trained volunteer network, serving children, adults and families facing life-threatening illness and experiencing grief. The organization's community and professional education programs increase awareness and action around end-of-life issues, advance care planning and grief. All CaringMatters' programs are free of charge.
Volunteer Helping Hands’ caregiving volunteers serve people of all ages who have a serious illness and no reasonable prospect of recovery. They can continue to receive curative treatment. Weekly services include, but are not limited to companionship, assistance with household tasks, and limited transportation to appointments. Volunteer Helping Hands provides a respite from caregiving for family members. Clients live in their own homes, assisted living facilities and nursing homes. CaringMatters is licensed by the state of Maryland as a limited hospice care program. While we do not provide medical services, we supplement those services by local medical hospices.
Bereavement support groups enable people who have experienced the death of a loved one to share their stories, learn from one another and create support networks. CaringMatters volunteers who have experienced their own loss co-facilitate the groups. Groups are regularly formed for spousal loss, adult child loss, parent loss, sibling or friend loss, and loss by suicide. Additional groups are formed based on community need.
Through conversations and activities, Good Grief Clubs help school children in grades K-12 to explore their feelings, develop healthy coping strategies and find comfort in learning that they are not alone in their grief. These school-based seven-week support groups are co-facilitated by a trained CaringMatters volunteer and a school counselor. Clubs occur during the school day in school through a partnership with the Montgomery County Public Schools.
CaringMatters’ Family Nights program serves parents and their children who have experienced the death of a loved one. Each two-hour evening event is held prior to a major holiday which is often a difficult time. Guided conversations, creative arts activities and a dinner encourage families to create something together to take home as a way to continue conversations about their loved ones and to keep their memories alive. Families also learn coping tools and plan how they will handle upcoming celebrations.
This overnight, weekend camp serves grieving children and teens ages 6-17. CaringMatters volunteers operate the camp. Age-appropriate discussions and creative, fun-filled activities help campers share their feelings, develop coping skills and realize they are not alone in their grief. Camp Erin is part of The Moyer Foundation’s national network of bereavement camps. Bar-T, a premier child care provider, donates its accredited campground for the event.
Our Community Education events increase knowledge and skills about loss, end-of-life, death and grieving. We host an educational series called Seasons of Caring primarily for community members; sponsor continuing education credit (CEU) workshops for health and human services professionals; and regularly speak to organizations on a variety of topics. CaringMatters delivers specialized workshops on advance care planning, including how to talk with family and doctors about end-of-life options and desires and then how to complete an advance directive describing your end-of-life wishes and naming your health care agent.