Charlotte House Comfort Care, which provides comfort care for terminally ill individuals with a prognosis of less than three months to live, started the year with a new executive director. Kari Sears, originally from Alexandria Bay and now living in Perry with her husband, Rollie Sears, joined the team in late November 2020.

Sears joining the team was timely as the Charlotte House was beginning to implement new processes and procedures as they were adapting to the changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I am personally so honored to have this opportunity to work with the volunteers, staff members, and board members. To be in good company is priceless. Without each of them I wouldn’t get to do this job. This community amazes me,” said Sears. “When I say this comfort care home is supported and run by the community, I genuinely mean it. No matter the circumstances when a need is made known someone – or several someones – always step up.”

Additionally, a new volunteer coordinator, Amanda Luce, rejoined the team, as well as, a medical team, which “brings a strong support system to everyone in the house.”

Having a successful year so far, the Charlotte House, at 4316 Route 98, North Java – which opened to the community in March 2020, just as COVID-19 arrived in the area – is working to securing funding to rebuild the front porch of the house.

“…Currently, it isn’t user friendly. We would like to have a place that can be accessed via wheelchair, or walker and allow for enjoying time outside but protected from the weather,” said Sears.

The cost of the porch is projected at $25,000 to $30,000.

Charlotte House recently received two new beds, which will only improve the care provided to residents. With guidance offered by another comfort care provider, Crossroads House, in Batavia, they were able to secure top-of-the-line beds that had been refurbished for half the price. A donor paid for one bed, while the other was purchased through community fundraising efforts.

Board members are also focused on upcoming fundraiser opportunities, including “Life is a Journey around the Finger Lakes.” The virtual walk, slated for Sept. 15 to Dec. 15, celebrates and supports regionally located comfort care houses. Register through Oct. 30 at https://tinyurl.com/2m2yjkcy

“This community is made up of individuals that truly take care of each other. This is clear when you see the support we receive on a daily basis. I just wish I could get more individuals to visit the house, so they can see what it’s truly like here,” said Sears.

“People shy away from conversations of death/dying,” she said. “Every conversation goes the same… ‘Oh, I could never do that.’ I, literally, was one of those people. I said those same words. When I visited the very first time, I realized how wrong I was about what I thought it would be like. We have fun here. We laugh, we cook, we organize, make great friends, and get to make a difference for someone that happens to be in the dying stage.

“People do not come to Charlotte House to die. They come to live the last days of their life,” she said. “It’s a beautiful gift, not just to the resident and the families but to the volunteers and staff. Imagine someone choosing to spend the last days of life in your presence. What an honor!”

Those who wish to become a volunteer or learn more about becoming a volunteer, should visit CharlotteHouseComfortCare.org and follow the prompts.

“The best part is that you can control how much time you put in. There is no requirement for a minimum amount of time and, of course, there is no maximum either,” said Sears.

Charlotte House is operated with the assistance of volunteers and made fully functional through community donations. Its current wish list can be found on AmazonSmile, at https://a.co/02Nrn4j.

AmazonSmile is a way for people to support a favorite charitable organization every time they shop.

Sears, board members, and volunteers are looking forward to continued community support and meeting the needs of residents who are in their final stages of life.

“…The most heartfelt thank you is all I can offer. That, and to promise to always do my best as the director,” said Sears.

Charlotte House

  • WHAT: A place for those who are terminally ill (in the last three months of life) and wish to live their final days in a comforting, home-like atmosphere, cared for by trained staff and volunteers. All services provided at no cost. The comfort care home is non-denominations. All operating and resident care costs are covered through grants and community support such as donations, bequests and memorials.
  • WHERE: 4316 NY-98, North Java.
  • FOR INFORMATION: Call (585) 535-4065, go to http://CharlotteHouseComfortCare.org/ or visit its Facebook page, CharlotteHouseComfortCare.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1