CLEVELAND, Aug. 27, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- When a grandparent, aunt or uncle is dying, children can be caught up in a swirl of emotions. They may not be able to grasp that the special person they are visiting at the hospice house will not be getting better. Yet they know this same relative who once played with them, laughed at all their jokes and took them to the zoo is somehow a little different now.
Hospice of the Western Reserve, a nonprofit agency that cares for more than 2,300 patients and their families in Northern Ohio daily, has created a special place just for them. When children visiting with their families enter the 5,000-square-foot Hershey Play Garden at Ames Family Hospice House - the agency's in-patient care center in Westlake - they feel a sense of normalcy at a time that can be filled with anxiety.
Here they "take breaks" from their big feelings to swing on a giant tire, play hide and seek in a series of tunnels or try their hand at operating a bright red water pump.
Other features include:
- An eco-friendly playhouse; its "butterfly-magnet" roof is planted with perennials and grasses spilling over the edge
- A living fence constructed of woven-together maples; it provides a safe enclosure in harmony with nature
- Chalk gardens and chalk boards; these are scattered throughout to encourage budding artists
- A walk-on-top koi pond with a grated deck; kids peer down to check out fish, frogs and dragonflies
- A giant sandbox framed in Ohio sandstone for seating; it's roomy enough for the most fanciful castles
The garden was designed and constructed by David Wells, of Little & Wells, a Cleveland husband and wife team that has been caring for the gardens of Hospice of the Western Reserve for more than a decade. Their rural childhoods provided the inspiration. Support from the community – including a $150,000 gift from The Hershey Foundation – made the dream a reality.
The garden is designed for children, but it comforts the patients at Ames Family Hospice House, too. Grandparents and other family members living here sit on the screened patio across from the garden. They hear the sound of the children's laughter. They watch their little ones build sandcastles and fly high in the sky on the old-fashioned tire swing.
Laurie Henrichsen, email@example.com; 216.701.1768
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SOURCE Hospice of the Western Reserve