Thanks to Jen Coman and Sarah’s Guest House, seniors who travel to Syracuse to access its top tier medical facilities have a place to stay. Jen and her staff welcome these patients and their families into their “home away from home”, so that they have access to care and they do not have to face these medical challenges alone.
As an adult healthcare hospitality house, Sarah’s Guest House provides lodging, transportation, meals and comfort to patients and families of patients receiving medical care in the Syracuse area. Logistics of traveling away from home for medical care can be overwhelming, and the cost prohibiting. Sarah’s Guest House invites its guests to stay for $20 per night and no one is turned away for inability to pay.
Beyond lodging, Sarah’s Guest House provides free transportation to and from the hospitals, and delicious food prepared by volunteers.
The loving staff and volunteers offer friendship and support, and make the guests feel at home during these frightening and uncertain times in their lives.
After working 22 years as a financial operations manager, Jen Coman decided one day that she needed to do more to help people. She quit her job and went to work for St. Joseph’s Children’s Outpatient Mental Health Center as an intake coordinator. During this time she also became a volunteer at Sarah’s Guest House. She fell in love with the mission of what was then Sarah House. She went on to become the Executive Director in 2010.
Jen is inspired each and every day by not just the guests at Sarah’s Guest House, but by the volunteers who dedicate time selflessly to make life better for others. They transport guests; they clean the house, answer the phones, work in the gardens or simply chat with the guests. Most of the volunteers are seniors.
“As with most volunteer endeavors, working here really provides a sense of purpose, and I wouldn’t change a thing about it”.
In this way, Jen is fostering community from multiple angles. She provides a sense of family to those who might otherwise feel alone in the community, alone in a world of health challenges, or alone with financial hardships.
For Jen, her work helping seniors living with health challenges has come full circle. At age 16, Jen got her first job as a transporter at a local hospital. She would take seniors up to their rooms after their procedures, and would sometimes have a difficult time leaving if they didn’t have anybody there with them. “They would want to show me pictures, or talk about their family members that lived far away”, Jen remembers. She was dedicated to building companionship with older adults then, and her life has led her back to similar work helping the same demographic.
Now, Jen invites those same family members who live far away to stay near their relative to make sure that they are not alone. Jen and Sarah’s Guest House are making the lives of seniors better and brighter every day.