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You're Invited: Agrace’s 40th Anniversary Party

Agrace is turning 40! If you’ve used our services or simply want to help ensure Agrace is available to all those who need us for generations to come, please join us to mark this milestone.

At this celebration, we’ll share important news that will bring a vision of “Care for All” to life.

Tuesday, August 14, at 5:30 p.m.
NOAH’S Event Venue

5020 American Family Drive, Madison


There’ll be delicious appetizers and beverages, and plenty of free parking.

Register Today
We hope to see you there!




Three Generations, Called to Agrace

Agrace LPN Karen Minott (l), her parents Lynda and Verne Fuchs, and daughter, Agrace CNA Lauren Minott have supported Agrace patients and families over a span of 27 years.

Agrace LPN Karen Minott (l), her parents Lynda and Verne Fuchs, and daughter, Agrace CNA Lauren Minott have supported Agrace patients and families over a span of 27 years.

“Be sure you say it’s the best thing I ever did in my life,” Verne Fuchs urges. He gets a bit emotional recounting his 27 years of hospice volunteering for Agrace. Over nearly three decades, three generations of Verne’s family have held the hands and met the needs of dying people in and around Rock County. They’re a special part of Agrace’s 40-year legacy.

In the early 1990s, two employees of Janesville Team Care (which later merged into Agrace) came to talk to staff at Verne’s employer, General Motors. They called hospice volunteering a way to find purpose in retirement. Verne says, “The minute they got done talking, I said, ‘I’ve got to join that.’ And I did, right there.”

Verne’s wife, Lynda, also volunteered with hospice patients until she began to babysit for her grandchildren so her daughter, Karen Minott, could join Agrace as a licensed practical nurse. That was 22 years ago. In 2017, Karen’s daughter Lauren joined Agrace as a certified nursing assistant (CNA).

Support without judgement

In Verne’s early days, volunteers had great latitude to discover and do whatever the patient needed. “One patient who had esophageal cancer asked me to take him to his favorite burger place. I said, ‘But you can’t eat or drink,’ and he said, ‘No, the burgers are for YOU.’ I got one, and it was really good,” Verne admits. “Then I asked if he wanted some water to rinse out his mouth. He took the water and swallowed it—didn’t even realize. He was happier than heck! There was another place where he used to like the pop, so we got that, too. He was just so happy.”

Karen was a hospital nurse when she discovered she prefers in-home nursing. “With Agrace, we meet people where they are. There’s not this big push to get better—you have to do this; you have to do that. We just support them,” she explains. “We leave the judgment out, which is hugely important.”

Verne chimes in, “There’s nurses—and then there’s hospice nurses!” His family nods in agreement.

Lauren also found her way to Agrace, after helping with her dad’s care as he was dying. “I always cared more about other people than myself,” she says. “Then one day it dawned on me: That’s exactly what a CNA does. I signed up for classes and surprised
my mom with a note that said, ‘I’m taking after you.’”

Now, as an Agrace CNA, Lauren says, “My favorite thing is holding hands with my patients. The hands are gentle and soft—or they’re hard. Your hands tell the story of your life.”

This family that is called to hospice care agrees: “We gain as much as, if not more than, our patients.”


New Service Helps Seniors “Age at Home”

Senior Care from a Name You Trust

At 84, Rosella lives alone just outside of Madison—and likes it that way. Her daughter, Darla, lives “up north” and can’t visit often. Darla worries, because issues with balance and mobility make some things hard for Rosella.

Darla wishes there was someone she could trust to give her mom a little help between her visits. In September, she’ll have her wish, thanks to a new service: Age at Home by Agrace.

Age at Home offers a menu of non-medical services designed to help Dane County seniors remain living in their own homes as they age: personal care, housekeeping, meal preparation, laundry, medication reminders, errands, transportation and much more. With specialty services, such as overnight and live-in care, you can personalize support to your needs. Age at Home lets you stay in control of your home and lifestyle, rather than depending on favors from family, friends and neighbors. You pay for just the help you want—and nothing you don’t.

For Darla and others with aging parents, Age at Home is reliable care from a trusted, nonprofit. The service launches in September and starts with a free home safety check. To learn more or get a menu of available services, visit AgeAtHome.org or call (608) 327-7456.


Residential Hospice Care Now Available in Janesville

Once dedicated to short-term, acute care, the Agrace Center for Hospice & Palliative Care in Janesville now offers a new option: residential hospice care. We can now admit a limited number of Agrace patients to live in this beautiful, home-like setting while they receive hospice care. Rather than moving to our Residence in Madison, local patients can now stay closer to home, in a large, private suite where hospice caregivers are nearby around the clock.

Agrace LPN Karen Minott recently served a patient who could no longer safely stay in his own home. “He was able to move into our Residence in Janesville. When I went to visit, I had never seen that man happier,” she says. “He was profoundly grateful, happy and calm. He knew everything was taken care of.”

Hospice patients who live at Agrace pay a fee that covers their room, meals, utilities and housekeeping (this is separate from payment for hospice care). Questions about living at Agrace in Janesville? Call (800) 930-2770.


Volunteers Help Patients Connect to the Past through Music

Volunteer John Eliason

When Agrace Volunteer John Eliason visited Ellen,* a hospice patient with dementia who had been mostly unable to communicate, the playlist of Elvis songs he brought made her smile, tap her toes and laugh.

Over the past three years, John has brought music into the lives of Agrace patients like Ellen through Music & Memory.®  This national program uses iPods® and personalized music playlists to help people with dementia and other diseases that damage brain function to connect through music. Neuroscience has proven that favorite songs or music we associate with personal events can trigger memories.

John has made visits to a former piano teacher who puts her fingers on the surface in front of her and taps out a tune when she hears a familiar piano song. A man who hasn’t spoken in a long time listened to his entire playlist from John, then began to talk about lying on the floor of his family’s living room listening to the Philco radio.

“Dementia is such a frustrating illness, but music seems to open a window and give us a glimpse of who patients were before their dementia diagnosis,” John observes. “Music & Memory is a wonderful opportunity to bring music into their lives.”

You can help Agrace’s patients connect through music by donating your gently used iPod or MP3 player to Agrace. Bring or mail your donation to any Agrace office.

Questions? Contact the Volunteer Services Team at (608) 327-7163 or volunteer@agrace.org.

* Name changed for privacy.


Upcoming Grief Support Groups

Agrace grief support groups are open to anyone who is grieving, even if their loved one did not have hospice care. Visit our Grief Support Group page or call (608) 327-7118 to register or learn about these and other upcoming groups.


Upcoming Events

In the coming months, there are many fun ways to support patients and families served by Agrace. Learn more or register for any Agrace fundraiser listed below, or call (608) 327-7180.