Social Worker Profile: Susan Anderson

Hospice & Palliative Care | Charlotte, North Carolina

Ten years and 28 referrals (and counting!) have forged a strong partnership between Charlotte, NC-based Home Care Social Worker Susan Anderson and Dream Foundation. Susan shared with us that one of the highlights of her career has been seeing the smiles on people’s faces when their Dreams are granted. “It just takes asking them, “What would make you happy? What would make you smile?””

“Dream Foundation has the heart of hospice,” she continued. “They have a heart for folks at the end of life. They will go to whatever lengths they can to honor someone’s last dream.”

One of the earliest Dreams Susan helped a patient request was for a new washer and dryer.

“I’ll always remember how a washer and dryer saved his life. There was a son taking care of his mother by himself. Her condition required her bed linens to be changed daily and when their washer and dryer broke, he had to leave her nearly every day to take the linens to a laundry mat. I reached out to Dream Foundation and they said if I could get to a Sears that day, they would make the purchase immediately… I did and they ordered it right then and there. It was delivered and installed within a few days.”

Working in an economically deprived area of Charlotte, Susan has many patients who are unable to purchase items that would be transformative to their peace of mind or quality of life. “There is never a dream that is too small or too big that Dream Foundation will not honor,” Susan shared. “If you are willing to take that extra time, do that little extra work, it will be worth it over and over again.”

Lift chairs and scooters are frequent requests Susan receives and through Dream Foundation she is able to help her patients secure these much-needed devices. “Dream Foundation gives them the ability to suddenly be independent again.”

The daughter of a lift chair recipient shared with Susan after her father had passed, “I have never seen my father so happy about a piece of furniture ever. He loved being able to get in and out independently.” Susan remembers that same patient’s happiness on the day his chair arrived. He was amazed that there was someone who would help him. He remarked to Susan, “I hope that I can just sit here [in this chair] and if it’s okay with God it would be okay for me to die.”

Another patient who received a scooter shared, “I know I’m dying, but if I can go to the grocery store [down the street] one more time on my own that would be enough.”

Rose is a patient Susan will always remember, a sweet lady that when you met her you wanted to do something special for her. All of her life Rose had wanted to go to Hawaii. Dream Foundation worked with Susan to make the arrangements, but Rose’s health shifted and she was unable to travel so far. Dream Foundation asked if she would want to go to Florida instead. Susan recalled her visit with Rose after the trip, “She said to me, ‘Until the day I die, I will never forget this.’ It was so powerful for her and she was so appreciative of that last memory with her husband.”

“They understand it doesn’t have to be the same dream,” Susan remarked. “Every dream is worth asking for. I became a huge believer [in Dream Foundation] a very long time ago and I am so appreciative of what they do.”