Matthew’s House Hospice

Matthew's House Hopsice Alliston

Matthew's House in the winter.

The red bungalow on Highway 89 in Alliston, across from the Nottawasaga Inn and Resort, has a sign on the front lawn that lets passers-by know it is no ordinary house. While, to many, a “hospice” is a place where people go to die, Matthew’s House is a place where people come to learn how to live; live knowing they’re going to die, live while caring for someone who is dying and to learn how to live again after their loved one passes away.

The Matthew’s House, an offshoot of Hospice Simcoe, is a non-profit organization that provides services free of charge. The organization has 150 volunteers, many of whom provide in-home non-medical end of life support.

The house itself is a day facility. Caregivers, those facing a life threatening illness, and those grieving a loss come for programs focused on 3 main areas: Education, wellness and peer support.

Guest speakers come to Matthew’s House to give practical advice from Power of Attorney information to nutrition to planning a funeral.

Personal therapies like massage and reiki, therapeutic touch, reflexology, and holistic Chinese medicine are offered by volunteers who are trained in their fields. There are also group therapies like tai chi, drumming and yoga. When the snow is melted and the ground is thawed, Matthew’s House boasts a beautiful garden and forest area for clients to enjoy and work in.

Wendy Graham and Robert Oakes in the kitchen at Matthew's House

Wendy Graham, Coordinator of Client Program and Services, says Matthew House Hospice is a place for support from diagnosis onward, not just for the last days of someone’s life.

Robert Oakes, a board member at Matthew’s House Hospice, was once a client himself. His wife passed away from a terminal illness.  He says he and his wife received tremendous support from the volunteers at Matthew’s House.

After his wife’s death, Oakes found that he had a lot of sadness to deal with and asking for help was hard. Graham explains that asking for help to deal with grief is hard because people don’t see sadness as an illness which needs care. As such, they don’t give grief its due.

Grief is a journey. It is what has happened and what is happening to someone. The process of dealing with grief can take anywhere from 18 months to 2 ½ year.  Graham says “85% of people can move through grief healthily if given the chance.”

Robert and Wendy looking at some of the resources available in the library.

At Matthew’s House Hospice, the support groups help people make sense of their grief, learn from it and then help others with what they’ve learned.

Matthew’s House Hospice receives 17% funding yearly from the government. The rest of the funds to run the hospice is raised through donations and fundraising efforts.

For information, visit their website www.matthewshousehopsice.ca.

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One Response to Matthew’s House Hospice

  1. The 10th annual Hike for Hospice will take place on May 6, 2012 and friends of Matthews House Hospice will be hiking from 11:00am – 2:00pm, through Spring Creek Park on Albert St East and downtown Alliston. Besides hiking, we’ll have a BBQ, family fun and prizes for the top fundraisers. This is one of our biggest fundraisers of the year and all funds go to help people facing life-threatening illness or bereavement right here in this area. To join us or sponsor us, please go to our website http://www.matthewshousehospice.ca and click on the Hike For Hospice logo to sign up.

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