A COMMUNITY HOME FOR THE DYING
Catholic Charities of Saratoga, Warren and Washington counties
Driving along the tree lined streets of Saratoga Springs, the house at 35 New Street is at first sight typical of the well-kept homes in this part of town. This one, however, is a very special place called Mary’s Haven where people at the end of their lives come to spend their final days in a peaceful environment awash in dignity, respect, compassion and love.
Robin Byrt is the Director of Mary’s Haven, a two bed facility owned and operated by Catholic Charities of Saratoga, Warren and Washington Counties in cooperation with Community Hospice, serving persons with terminal illness who are within the last 3 months of their lives. Robin is aided by Program Assistant, Nancy Pompa and a team of volunteers who look after the tiniest details in caring for residents and doing things one volunteer says, tongue in cheek, “We should be doing at home. It is a privilege to be here getting to know each resident and their families, all who are so brave.” “Our volunteers”, Robin says, “are the heart of our program and our greatest asset.”
Mary’s Haven was founded in 2002 through a joint effort by Catholic Charities, Community Hospice and interested individuals from the community who all agreed that an end of life care facility with a home atmosphere was needed. Land was donated and the house was privately built. While the model for Mary’s Haven is based closely on a family caring for a dying loved one at home, staff and volunteers interact with Hospice, health care workers, social workers, pastoral care, and counseling professionals to meet the individual needs of each resident 24 hours a day.
Resident referrals come from Hospice, health care agencies, hospitals, physicians, social workers, families and friends. Preference is given to those with the greatest need and the fewest options. On average, 20 residents are served here in the course of a year. Bereavement care is offered to loved ones before and after a resident’s death. Remarkably, services are provided free of charge to all residents of Mary’s Haven.
Mary’s Haven is by no means a sullen place. Rather, it is a house imbued with grace, cheerfulness and humor, with spirit uplifting and heroic.
For further information about Mary’s Haven, please call Robin or Nancy at
(518) 584-9397 or visit www.maryshaven.org.