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On the Move: Caring for their community

Fourteen years ago, after many years of Sunapee Region vacations, Diana and Tom Ginter moved to New London to make it their retirement home. They came to New Hampshire from suburban New York. Diana left behind a career in nursing, Tom a career as a lumber company executive.

Not very good at retiring, Diana has spent those 14 years nursing for the Sunapee Region Visiting Nurse Association and Hospice. She tends the clinics, checks blood pressures, cares for patients’ feet, gives flu shots “and anything else that they think up for me to do,” she said.

Tom, an active volunteer for the organization, does the paperwork for the flu shot program. Diana is also active in the organization’s respite program. Respite nurses and volunteers help caregivers of dementia patients, giving them time off, time to do grocery shopping, get haircuts, go for walks, visit with friends. Anyone who has nursed a loved one through a long illness knows how valuable respite time can be, both for the caregiver and the patient. Respite providers engage patients in appropriate activities that help them feel valued.

The Ginters are also involved in telemonitoring. Telemonitors are small machines placed in patients’ homes and connected to their telephones. The machines help keep track of patient problems, which can be faxed to physicians. Telemonitors are helpful in keeping patients out of the hospital and reducing the number of required nursing visits. When a machine is no longer needed, Tom Ginter collects it and cleans it up for the next patient’s use.

Diana usually works four hours a day, three days a week. She and Tom serve clinics in New London, Newport, Grantham, Warner, Bradford, Lebanon, Canaan and Newbury.

When not busy with the visiting nurse association, the Ginters coordinate local blood drives. They are active in their church and they walk. Diana knits and reads; Tom putters in the yard. He does some woodworking and has made a Christmas village that sits in a bay window during the holidays. Tom lays out the village; Diana puts in the figures.

Tom served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. When he came home, he went to college and, 52 years ago, married Diana. They have four children who now live scattered across the United States. Right after they officially retired, Diana and Tom traveled 10,000 miles across the country in 40 days.

The Sunapee Region VNA and Hospice has more than 100 volunteers and more than 100 paid staff. The association is based on Main Street in New London, and its territory covers the Lake Sunapee and Upper Valley regions with an abundance of services available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The menu includes: home care; medical services in specialty areas; certified hospice care;
in-home care-giving to assist with the activities of daily living that help people remain safely in their own homes; pediatric care for newborns and chronically ill children; support groups; immunization clinics; health fairs and community education; and the respite program. And all of these programs work because of folks like the Ginters.

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