Auburn There is a nondescript, white, two-bedroom ranch-style house on a quiet side street in Auburn where terminally ill people go to spend their final days.
But if, as Socrates said, there are times when death is a blessing, so too can where and how one dies be just as blessed — and that is the role of Matthew House.
Matthew House is a not-for-profit, non-denominational comfort care home whose mission is to provide a home for people with terminal illness (diagnosed as three months or less) to pass in peace and dignity, and a comfortable setting for loved ones to be with them.
Residents receive 24-hour care and support from the volunteer resident caregivers (many of whom are licensed nurses), and Hospice medical personnel. Families also can move into Matthew House and live there with their loved one until the end.
Matthew House has helped and comforted almost 200 residents in the nearly 10 years it has been in operation.
To look at the house, it is difficult to believe that it has such an important function. It looks like any other house, both outside and inside. Walking in the front door, there is a normal-size living room, dining room, and kitchen; and also two resident suites, one on each end of the house, which each have a bedroom, bathroom and living area.
But Matthew House truly is a home — there is no other word to describe the feeling of the place.
"The residents get to have it their way, they create their own plan of care. It's their home and we are their guests, in a way. We become extended family to them," said residence director Wendy Young.
But perhaps the most amazing things of all about Matthew House: it's free.
Matthew House is a 100 percent community-sponsored organization that provides all the care and comfort and living at no cost to the residents or their families.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Skaneateles Press. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.