The “Zen” in our name reflects our approach of bringing mindfulness and compassion to our care for the dying, their caregivers, and the bereaved. This approach is grounded in the 2,500 year-old teachings of the Buddha, especially as they relate to coping with death and dying. The Buddha taught that life is happiest for those who learn to meet change, loss, and the eventuality of death with equanimity and kindness. Doing so can enhance one’s understanding and love of life.
We have found these teachings to be true at Zen Hospice Project. Over the years our approach to hospice care has become one of facing death as openly as we can, from moment to moment, for clients from all walks of life, with each and every family. No matter the circumstance, we invite them to experience their final days, weeks, and months of life just as they are. Whether their time with us is characterized by curiosity or confusion, joy or sorrow, fear or love (and usually it is all of these); we respond with kindness and understanding.
With this type of care, our clients can be in less distress and more able to cope with dying and loss within themselves and in relation to others. And in turn, as caregivers our lives are greatly enriched. The people we care for become our teachers — they help us appreciate life and remember what matters most to each of us, uniquely and universally.
Our work falls into four program areas, each with its own emphasis, and each of which complements and supports the others:
- Our Guest House in San Francisco provides a final home for people who are not able to die in their own homes. It is where our innovative approach to end-of-life care is put into action.
- Our Volunteer Programs train and support a community of caring people as they serve those needing care, both at our Guest House and at Laguna Honda Hospital, the primary referral site for uninsured people in San Francisco.
- Our Grief Support services assist people in coping with the heartbreak of a significant loss, be it from the death of a loved one or the incremental losses of aging.
- Our Education workshops, trainings, and consulting services teach people how to manage the challenges of aging, dying, and caregiving with skill and confidence.
The information above can be found on the official website of Zen Hospice Project. For more details about the organization and to find out how you can volunteer, please visit their website: http://www.zenhospice.org