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New life at home for the dying in Naples

Suzanne Jaquin retired five years ago from teaching elementary school. After a long career in education, Jaquin, who lives in South Bristol, had more time to spend on other endeavors. She wanted to volunteer and at something meaningful.

Jaquin found Hospeace House.

Hospeace House in Naples recently reopened as a two-bed comfort care home at County Road 33 in Naples. The transformation comes after years as a four-bed hospice, then a period of vacancy after financial difficulties forced its closing. The home for the dying is one of about 30 comfort care homes in New York state that provide a place for residents and their families to feel at home and supported.

The need is great with not enough comfort care homes to satisfy requests from families, said Jennifer Emmons, Hospeace executive director. Since Hospeace reopened following extensive building renovations and refurbishing and outfitting the house, the nonprofit has taken one resident. Recruitment and training of volunteers is ongoing as Hospeace is about halfway to its goal of 150 volunteers in direct resident care.

Emmons said last week a local family was anxiously awaiting for the go-ahead so a loved could move in. Hospeace needs additional volunteers to ensure all the shifts are filled and so it can sustain full-time, round-the-clock care, Emmons said.

Volunteers receive six hours of training over three days, for two hours each day. Training times as well as times to volunteer are flexible and can work around a person’s schedule. Direct care can mean many things, including reading to a resident or simply spending time sitting with them — “being a friend,” said Emmons.

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