When my mother entered hospice care, Gateway House of Peace was there to provide a loving home for her to spend the remaining days of her life in a beautiful and peaceful setting. She was lovingly cared for by dedicated and truly amazing volunteers and staff who made sure she was comfortable and resting peacefully. She had been craving chocolate cream pie of all things while in the hospital and Gateway was able to arrange for their volunteer chef to have a homemade pie waiting for her upon her arrival. She truly appreciated this personal touch and thoughtfulness. My mother received the finest care imaginable during her stay at Gateway. I am eternally grateful to the volunteers and staff for all they did for my mother and my family. Gateway House of Peace is a special place staffed with special people who truly care about the residents and their families. Gateway is a house of love.
– Sue Wougk
Jeff Travis was a dear friend and co-worker of mine for the last 25 years. He battled several types of cancer over the last six and a half years. He was admitted to the hospital for two weeks in early September where he learned he had less than three months to live. Jeff was then transferred to the Gateway House of Peace where he stayed for two weeks before he died. He was so happy to leave the hospital. He was a humble man of simple means and the Gateway House of Peace was the perfect place for him. Jeff told me the first day he was there how wonderful it was to be there. I asked him specifically how the bed was at the Gateway House of Peace as I knew he could not get comfortable in the bed at the hospital. He was thrilled that it was so comfortable and such an improvement from his hospital bed. A comfortable bed, something many of us take for granted, was a gift Jeff received from the Gateway House of Peace. The staff people at the Gateway House of Peace are genuine and compassionate people who were wonderful to Jeff and made his final days as comfortable as possible for him. The staff was extremely supportive to all of us who called and/or visited Jeff there. My only regret is that Jeff was not transferred to the Gateway House of Peace sooner. I have so much respect for the work that is being done by the special people affiliated with this amazing organization. I know Jeff did as well.
Thanks to all of you from the bottom of my heart!
– Laurie M. Nelson
I can’t begin to describe the happiness my mother experienced during the last two months of her life at Gateway House of Peace this past summer. Between the wonderful staff and the caring volunteers, she received the best care one could ever hope to have in the final stage of life. She had the constant attention of staff as they took care of every need both physical and emotional, and the attention of the volunteers who cooked her favorite foods and were just great company! She would tell me that she had “already gone to heaven”.
It was a relief to my brothers and me that our mother was so well cared for and so happy. We feel a deep connection to the mission of Gateway House of Peace and to all who are part of this amazing place. We will be forever grateful.
– Claudia Moller Gilfoil
Gateway House of Peace was a haven for Beryl who at the age of 101, after a rich and joyful life, found her carefully made plans for her end of life were not fulfilled as promised. At Gateway she knew love, care and peace in her final days, thanking everyone again and again. She ended her life in the profound gratitude with which she had lived her long life. Her family and friends share this gratitude, seeing her at Saratoga Hospital and at Gateway under Hospice care returned to the lovely and gracious person she had always been.
We cannot say high enough praise for Gateway House of Peace being all they say they are- loving community support for end of life care.
– Karin Welsh on behalf of Beryl’s family and friends
I wish to thank Joni and all the caring volunteers at the Gateway House of Peace for the wonderful CARE that you have extended to my SPECIAL friend Josephine “Jody ” Belluscio. Suffering from Terminal Cancer….The tender and loving care that you all gave, made her last days as comfortable as was possible. Also, thank you for the attention and concern that you showed for close Friends and Family.
All this is greatly appreciated, thank you.
– Larry Segel
On July 2nd, 2014 my mother took her last breath on this earth in the blue room at Gateway House of Peace. Her 10-year fight with breast cancer took a turn a year ago when we discovered it in her brain, bones and lungs. Over the year my mom fought the good fight including brutal radiation and chemo treatments. My mother and I would often talk about what she wanted to manage the end of her life. She made me promise over and over again that when the time came I would be strong enough to make sure she wasn’t suffering. I promised but had no clue how difficult that would be.
Every step of the way we would hope and pray that each treatment would work wonders and provide more quality time for us to spend together but that was not to be the case . . . each turn brought devastating news and soon my mother was paralyzed from a large tumor in her spine and the tumors in her brain were taking their toll. I could see that our plan to take her home under hospice care was slipping away. I would not be able to care for her physically and the expense to hire 24-hour care was not a viable option. That‘s when I first heard about Gateway House of Peace: a two-bed independently-run home in Malta that collaborates with Hospice.
I fully anticipated Gateway to be a depressing facility that would feel dreadful but in fact the opposite was true . . . it immediately felt like a peaceful respite. Joni (executive director) and Sandy (head nurse) greeted me at gateway and even in my barely functioning daze I knew we would spend my mom’s final days there and we would be in good hands. I could not know how supported and cared for the entire family would be. The incredible knowledge, compassion and patient care provided to my mom and our family was remarkable. The Gateway volunteers will agree that my mother was not an easy patient-her standards were high and she used every moment to “teach” others, she was extremely anxious, in a lot of pain and often confused. The staff at Gateway knew how to take care of her, to take away her pain, to help reduce the anxiety and to support all of us every step of the way. From the angel Cat who helped soothe my mom at night when the anxiety was at its peak to Doug who cooked her chocolate cream pie to Judy who held her hand the day she left us and Sarah who held me tight while I waited for my family to arrive. I will always be indebted to the people who take on a much-needed mission and selflessly provide end of life care to families. Knowing that my mother had the best possible care as she transitioned to another place gives me peace each day.
– Heidi Owen West
On May 24th 2014 our brother Leonard took his last breath. He fought such a battle with cancer with his chemo and radiation treatments, he never complained. Lenny knew he was dying and still would not let any of his family members know (but we knew) He was sent to Gateway House to live out the rest of his life. The staff made his illness a little easier for him and us to bear. Gateway is a beautiful place, the staff is the nicest people you would ever want to meet and our brother was so comfortable there, even if it was only for a few days. We are forever grateful!
– The Bergeron Family
I would just like to say that during my father’s stay at gateway house he was made comfortable. He was only there a couple of days, but in that short time the staff took excellent care of my dad. Everyone was so understanding and compassionate, not only to my dad, but to our entire family. I want to thank the staff and volunteers who made my father’s passing one of peace.
– Bonnie Anderson
My mom, Nancy Meyer, died at Gateway House of Peace in the wee morning hours on May 27 after receiving the shocking diagnosis of stage IV pancreatic cancer barely more than five months earlier.
During the week before she died, her windows of lucidity closed more each day. Within a day or two, she became fully bedridden, and it was exceptionally difficult to understand what she was trying to say. We did our best to continue caring for her at home and made frequent, frantic calls to hospice to send a nurse out to help even with the basics, such as repositioning her without causing her undue pain and suffering.
Five days before she died I reached my breaking point. My two younger siblings and I had patched together a schedule for the week to ensure one of us was at the house as often as possible since my mom’s care needs were more than my dad could handle alone. My shift – the weekend shift – would begin the next day, and that night I realized it was way beyond what I could handle. I drove home from my parents’ house that night feeling desperate for a solution.
Later that afternoon – which was the Friday heading into Memorial Day weekend – I was informed by the hospice social worker that a bed was available at Gateway House and that my mom could be transferred there the next morning. The problem was that my mom wanted to die at home, and my dad wanted to honor her wishes. But I convinced him to let Sandy come over for an informational visit, which took place immediately and was followed immediately by a trip to Gateway to see for ourselves. When we visited the house and met the angels who staff it, we knew it was the right place for my mom and that they would provide the compassionate, round-the-clock care she both needed and deserved.
What a blessing to have the burden of her physical care lifted from us, leaving us with more energy to give her love and comfort and to be her family rather than her incompetent nurses. Finally, I could sleep! And that’s when some joy began to filter in.
My mom had a dear friend in her twenties who was one of her bridesmaids. They hadn’t been in touch in decades, but all of a sudden – without knowing my mom was sick – this woman searched for her online and found me. The day after my mom was admitted to Gateway House, this woman and her husband drove from New Jersey so she could see us. Although my mom was cocooning deeply and was virtually unresponsive, we gathered around her and listened to her friend share memories about their times together so many years ago. I learned so much about her. Then it was time to sing. We sang some of her favorite songs and hymns, and filled the blue room with JOY and MUSIC! It was a CELEBRATION! It felt as if she was on a raft rather than a hospital bed, and we were on the shore giving her a joyous send-off. The Gateway staff gave us all the space and privacy we needed, and for that I’m grateful.
We had one more day with my mom before she passed. I witnessed the tenderness with which Sandy and Judy touched, spoke to, and cared for her. It blew me away. When I expressed my gratitude for their tender, loving care, I believe it was Sandy who explained that to her, my mom was her own mom. The angels at Gateway continue to express love for their own dear ones through loving the dying people in their care as if they were their own family.
The Gateway staff is completely there for the whole family, as well – a comforting presence in the living room always ready to provide emotional support and companionship – like a heart holding us. I can personally attest to the staff and volunteers’ radical acceptance of human and family diversity. That is something for which I am profoundly grateful.
The night my mom died, my two teenagers, one of my siblings, and I stayed overnight. My kids camped out in one of the upstairs bedrooms, I retreated to another when I needed some rest, and my middle sibling stayed in the comfortable recliner in the blue room. My children wanted me to take them out to get ice cream to have while they watched movies upstairs, and Sandy encouraged me to buy popcorn, too – make it a party! And that’s how it felt. Life could continue normally like that upstairs while we remained under the same roof, and my mom received the care she needed downstairs in the blue room. It felt like our own space. A little after 2 a.m., my son felt compelled to go downstairs to say goodbye to Grandma. This awakened my sibling in the recliner next to my mom’s bed, who had a few very meaningful moments with her before her eyes, which had been closed all day, opened wide and bright for several seconds. She looked toward the door and then slipped away around with the most beautiful, comforting look on her face. When I came into the room a few minutes later, I belted out “Amazing Grace” with a loud but trembling voice – because there was the freedom to do that. It was a beautiful, gentle transition.
I wish everyone could experience such a lovely transition. The volunteers and staff at Gateway gave my mom such compassionate, tender, loving care – gentle caresses, loving words, and devoted attention. They share such intimate, personal moments and truly become family.
– Susan Meyer