Volunteers bring salon services to hospice patients

Volunteers bring salon services to hospice patients

Many hairstylists would consider it a day of work, but those who spend Thursday mornings at Agrace HospiceCare in Fitchburg think it’s a day of magic.

“I love it,” Cost Cutters volunteer Angela McIntosh said. “It’s definitely the highlight of my week to come in.”

“This is my day off every week,” volunteer Beth Anderson said.

The volunteers wash, blow-dry and curl patients’ hair, all before the clock strikes noon.

“It’s that comb and that hand, that magic hand,” a hospice patient named Mary said.

Anderson and Mcintosh are two of a group of volunteers from Cost Cutters who work their magic on patients at Agrace HospiceCare each and every week.

“These guys keep me humble and make me appreciate life a little more,” Anderson said.

The salon at Agrace opened 12 years ago, and Cost Cutters volunteers have been offering residents free hair care ever since. The volunteers undergo training, and if patients are too sick to go to the salon, the stylists go to their bedside.

“It’s refreshing,” Mary said. “It makes you feel good. It makes you feel beautiful.”

“We can’t get out and be able to do this, and it makes us still feel like we’re humans,” patient Dorothy Volker said with a laugh. “It’s a very nice place to be in. Everyone I meet here has been just wonderful.”

“It puts the dignity back into the end of life,” McIntosh said.

She’s a long-time volunteer who started when her mother got sick.

“I know she loves getting her hair done, so I really would’ve liked to have gone and been there,” McIntosh said, but her mother lives far away.

“Somebody said, ‘Hey, you can pay it forward here,'” she said, and now 10 years later, McIntosh has added her hospice clients to her family.

“They are somebody’s grandmother or grandfather,” she said. “I treat them as if they were mine.”

“It means a lot,” Volker said.