Confronting death with pets, music and good hair

Simple ways for you to help someone make the most of the moments he has left.

What can you do for someone who has less than three months to live? 

Those who volunteer with Dover Park Hospice (DPH) come face to face with this question on a regular basis. 

Sounds grim, but would you believe that it's not?

The volunteers are a diverse and active bunch.

They provide music, massage services, food and playdates with pets for the patients to enjoy. 

One group takes those who are able on outings every week, making sure to take lots of photos while they're at it.

They spread happiness with a smile, a song, a touch. It doesn't take much, and yet it means a lot to the patients, judging by their responses.

Their focus is on helping the residents to live as fully as they can, in the time they have left.  

Many of the volunteers at the non-profit hospice in Singapore have been involved for a while, some for years. 

There's a perception that many younger people don't see the value in giving their time to something that they may assume would be quite grim and confronting. 

What I found in my time telling this story is that it isn't grim at all.

The hospice itself has open-air hallways flooded with natural light, a lovely pond with fish and a wooden bridge to watch them from, and large rooms opening onto lush greenery. 

It's peaceful, quiet, and dignified.

And the volunteers, from what I could see, spend their time being happy, and making others happy. 

There are many ways to bring joy to the patients of Dover Park Hospice, including through music, gardening, pet-assisted therapy with dogs or rabbits, befriending, grooming, helping with celebrations, offering administrative and logistical support, transport or massage. Sign up here or find out more at

About Dover Park Hospice

Established in 1992, Dover Park Hospice now has 18 different volunteer groups that sing, entertain, share skills with and even groom the patients. Volunteers at this non-profit hospice add joy and laughter to the final days of the patients.


Producer & Writer

Ashima Thomas

Director of Photography

Anshul Tiwari