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Who We Are

Home Director

Elise Lark, PhD, LCSW, APHSW-C
CFD Founder

Elise Lark is the visionary founder of Circle of Friends for the Dying. Her passion for this project was ignited by her work as a clinical social worker at the HealthAlliance Hospital Oncology Support Program, and furthered as a member of the Palliative Care Team. These experiences led her to recognize the need for alternative end-of-life care settings in our community. Working in both the hospital and its Cancer Support House has allowed her to observe how setting influences the quality of care and relationships within, and the natural sense of ease elicited by a home environment. These interests led Elise to return to school with the goal of investigating community-based end-of-life residences and to the discovery of the Home for the Dying care model (aka Comfort Care Home). Her research culminated with her PhD dissertation, Making Space for Dying: Portraits of Living with Dying (2014), introducing this model to the literature. Through her fieldwork, she has observed the truly wonderful healing and educational benefits of this simple but elegant care model for residents, families, lay caregivers, and the communities they serve.

Elysabeth (Lys) Swan, Administrator

Lys is an educator, death doula, and shamanic healer who relocated to the Hudson Valley in 2012 after a 22-year teaching career and has worked exclusively in the nonprofit sector in administrative and educational programming roles—most recently at the Eleanor Roosevelt Center and, prior to that, at the Omega Institute and the Omega Women’s Leadership Center. A hospice volunteer since 2015, Lys is a co-founder and co-facilitator of Death Cafe Dutchess, as well as two EOL-focused Facebook page groups. She brings both her professional expertise and a commitment to compassionate death care to her work as a Circle Home staff member and looks forward to supporting CFD in its ongoing mission to provide comfort and care at the end of life.