A sight, a sound, a smell...memories can be called the heirloom to one's life. Generally speaking, a home is an integral part of those memories. The Gateway Home in Attica aims to provide those comforts with its comfort care facility.
“This house has grown to be what it is now,” said Attica Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors Member Molly Haungs. “It’s a caring and living environment. The legacy of this home is where it's suppose to be. You hope people in your life achieve that and this home is achieving that.”
Gateway Home is a comfort care facility in which the client is terminally ill, with three months or less to live. Admittance is based on need and age is not a factor. Additionally, residents are not charged for services, nor does the home accept insurance.
Medical professionals and volunteers trained by professionals operate the home, said Gateway Home Board of Directors Member Jeff Clark. Medical professionals are responsible for the care of the resident, however, volunteers will also have some responsibility with patients.
“It will be 24/7 care at no charge,” Clark said. “Our focus is to provide a home-like environment as they (clients) pass on. We fully support the resident and family at that time of need.”
And Clark can attest with certainty that the house is most definitely a home and holds some special memories. Although the house was built in 1854, for the last 50 years Woodams and Rita Clark made it a home. The Clarks raised nine children there, one of whom was Jeff.
“My dad died around 14 months ago – August 2015,” Clark said. “When he died, the Attica First Baptist Church purchased the home. The original intention was to have meeting rooms or rooms for visiting missionaries. But that idea developed into a home for comfort care for residents in and around Attica.”
Gateway Home is a nonprofit 501c3 organization, which was incorporated as such in April. Although the church currently owns the property, Gateway Home will either lease or buy the home from the church.
“Gateway Home was developed as a separate organization,” said Todd Gadd, who sits on the board of directors for both the church and Gateway. “We’ve (the church) been looking for awhile for property and the Clark family offered theirs.”
While the house didn’t fit the need of the church, the property that sits in the back of the church did. Subsequently, the church is donating the house to Gateway.
Haungs’s involvement in the organization began when Gateway presented its intentions and mission at a meeting.
“I thought it was an amazing idea. A group of thoughtful people to do something so good for the community. They saw a need and found a way to fill that need.”
To gain insight to the workings of such a home, Clark visited 15 facilities in surrounding areas and model theirs after the Crossroads House in Batavia. He says they have been “extremely helpful” in bringing their ideas into fruition.
Fundraising for the home began in earnest in June. The community was encouraged to help with fundraising efforts and the board found the community wants to be involved.
“It speaks volumes about a community that wants to help and takes an interest,” Haungs said. “There is already a list of 90 volunteers that want to help!”
While the building itself is structurally strong, a few modifications are needed. Handicap accessibility will be added to the bathrooms and the heating and air conditioning system will be modernized.
“It’s important that this house is a good strong living home,” Clark said. “We want to carry that through the organization – A home...where there is care and support medically and spiritually.”
“I have a soft spot for older homes,” Haungs said. “When you come to visit someone here...this home lends itself to so many different comfort points. There is nothing 'sterile' about it, it's comfort and homey.”
It's not meant to be an institution, it’s to support the resident and family.
“When you come here it's an opportunity to provide a home. It's personally defined. From a smell or a sight or a memory,” Gadd said. “A home means something different to everyone, yet the same. It's something that is carried in your heart. You can't buy it.”
Gateway Home wants to provide a sense of security and safety to its clients. They aim to offer a feeling of ease on a daily basis.
“Knowing that a family member can pass in peace is what we all hope for,” Clark said, “and this home is to captivate that.”
Gateway Home will have both a medical and nursing director who will provide the nursing care plan for residents. There will also be several per diem nurses on staff as well.
Overall, the facility will require 75 volunteers on a regular basis. They will be trained by nursing staff and help with some medical needs, as well as having involvement with building maintenance and food prep. Volunteers are also needed to sit with patients on a daily basis. Officials say the training involves all aspects of a home.
Clark says the home is less about treatment and more about keeping the person comfortable at the end of life.
The board hopes to have Gateway Home operational by the end of 2017 early 2018. However, much fundraising still needs to be done.
“Fundraising efforts are to generate the funds for the care of patients and general operations of the facility,” Clark said. “You can donate in your name or someone else’s name...it would make a great Christmas gift.
“Gateway Home aims to be a permanent member of this community. There isn’t a place where an effort can’t be used.”
For more information or to make a donation, visit Gateway Home. You can also find them on Facebook.