Autumn Reflections event to benefit Quiet Oaks hospice

Cindy Zieglmeier is passionate about caring for people nearing the end of their lives. As a nurse at Quiet Oaks Hospice House and Respite Care in St. Augusta for the last seven years, she helps residents and their families through the most difficult times.

“I really like the joy of working with the residents,” Zieglmeier said. “I find it very rewarding to be able to give them hospice. It’s the extra care that is given. I don’t think people realize that we give more services than your typical hospice. It’s nice to give that care.”

Zieglmeier tends to the physical needs of her residents, but she helps care for them spiritually as well. A member of St. Mary Help of Christians Parish in St. Augusta for the past 28 years, where she serves as a eucharistic minister, Zieglmeier is one of several people who bring Communion to Quiet Oaks residents who request it.

“When folks have a really strong faith and you can give them Communion, it almost takes your breath away to give them that opportunity,” she said.

Being able to care for residents physically and spiritually has strengthened her own faith, she said.

“I don’t feel like I come in and punch a time card. I just feel like it’s a calling and a mission to be here; it has been an honor to be able to work at Quiet Oaks.”

In addition to providing hospice care in a residential home environment, Quiet Oaks also offers respite care for residents’ families. It features eight private suites and serves people of all backgrounds.

On Sept. 14, Quiet Oaks will celebrate nine years of caring for residents and their families during their 10th annual Autumn Reflections event at River’s Edge Convention Center in St. Cloud. The event, which aims to raise awareness as well as funds for Quiet Oaks, was held for the first time before the facility even opened in 2008.

Since then, it has served more than 650 residents and their families. For the first time this year, Quiet Oaks will honor all of those residents. In the past the event has remembered residents from the previous year.

“[The event] is just a really neat way to have people come back and celebrate their loved ones,” said Zieglmeier, who also is a co-chair of the event.

The families of all of the residents have been invited to decorate a luminary to be lit and displayed during the celebration.

“I think it will be really powerful,” said Molly Jeanmenne, public relations and outreach coordinator. “We’ll have luminaries lining the entrance of the event and spread out on the stage, so 650 is pretty significant.”

The goal of Autumn Reflections is to raise funds for operating expenses as well as a special project.

“This year our big special project is our Compassionate Care Fund,” Jeanmenne said. The fund “helps people if they aren’t able to afford the cost of a stay here. We really want everyone to benefit from hospice. So, that’s our goal, to raise money to build up that fund so we can help more people in the community.”

About Dianne Towalski

Dianne Towalski is a multimedia reporter for The Visitor newspaper.

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