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Saturday, May 7, 2022

Dinner Celebrates Anniversary of Hospice Home by Margret Lee mlee@livingstonnews.com:

Suzanne’s Comfort Care celebrates anniversary of Wyoming County’s first hospice home

PERRY – Suzanne’s Comfort Care Home in Perry just celebrated its five-year anniversary, bringing together its volunteers to an honorary dinner to show appreciation for the volunteers’ hard work over the past five years.

Suzanne’s Comfort Care Home was opened in 2017 by Suzanne Schuster and was the first hospice home brought to Wyoming County.

Schuster started volunteering at a hospice home in Wayland about 10 years ago. She volunteered there for four to five years before her mother-in-law took ill and she began to take care of her.

Not long after, two of Schuster’s aunts became sick. She assisted in taking care of them as well.

“I knew the need and I chose Perry because I grew up in Perry and I knew there were none in Wyoming County. The hard part is if people don’t need you, they don’t know about you,” said Schuster.

Schuster’s home has served 84 guests in the five years it has been open. Guests are cared for at no cost or fee to the guest or the family. The home is two bedrooms and is a 501c3 nonprofit.

There have been about 150 volunteers total throughout the last five years and there are almost 50 active volunteers that work around the clock at the home.

“These volunteers, every one of them, are just so kind and caring. All comfort care homes need people, and if there’s anything I could stress is that you do not need medical training, they just need you to be caring and compassionate,” said Schuster. “That’s the hard part, but it’s not just comfort care homes either, I mean, EMTs, fire departments, everybody needs people and time is the most expensive thing to give.”

Schuster decided she was going to open up a hospice home after she retired from her worked teaching cosmetology at BOCES.

She said that if she would’ve been aware of the difficulties involved in getting a new hospice house up and running, she may have decided against it.

“If I knew what I had to do, I wouldn’t have done it. But I am very glad that I did it because we have helped 84 families and that’s the ones that we can get to us. It’s just like I always say, it feeds your soul to volunteer,” said Schuster.

Schuster said she has grown close with her volunteers and guests. She said it is a very rewarding relationship and an important experience to volunteer at a place like this.

“It’s to help people stay out of the hospital and out of a nursing home. To be in a home setting that’s safe and comfortable, I think that’s the main thing that people don’t understand. There are some people that have many family members that can deal with everything, who can keep it going and there’s people that don’t have anything. We’re just another option, I think. And like I said to be able to get somebody out of the hospital. I mean because we have everything, all the comforts of home,” said Schuster.

One of the volunteers, Gail Laudadio, who lives in Perry, has been volunteering at Suzanne’s for almost a full five years, arriving a few months after the opening.

“I had heard about Suzanne. She’s actually the reason I started because I thought if this woman did that, I just thought it was such a good thing and to give back,” said Laudadio.

Another volunteer, Nancy Mallaber of from Mount Morris, started volunteering last December after her husband passed away from colon cancer.

“I just thought this would be a good way for me to give back and understand what the other families are all going through because of what I went through,” said Mallaber. “I thought maybe it would help me in the process also, Its been very fulfilling for me and I really enjoy it. It makes me feel good that I know that I can help other people with what they’re going through.”

Ernie Lawrence of Perry has been doing chaplain work since before Suzanne’s home opened.

“I was providing home chaplaincy to a person that was in home hospice and that person ended up coming to Suzanne’s as their very first guest and so I just transferred my work from her home to this,” said Lawrence.

“Suzanne comfort care is an extraordinary gift to our community,” he said, “and I’m glad I’ve had a chance to help.”

Anyone looking to volunteer may contact Suzanne’s Comfort Care Home via email to suzannescch167@gmail.com or by calling (585) 237-5881..

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