PACE programs: An Important Senior Care Resource

"Program for All Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) provides the comprehensive elder care that frail seniors need without placing them in a Pace, nursing home, caregiver, elder care, senior carenursing home.

When a person has run out of money to pay for elder care, he will likely apply for Medicaid to pay long term care costs.  If the person cannot live independently he may end up living in a Medicaid certified nursing home.  In many states, Medicaid funding for long term care covers limited home care and nursing home care.  PACE provides a compassionate alternative to nursing homes and addresses the physical, emotional and social needs of frail seniors.

Our modern healthcare system tends to treat individuals as if they are composed of parts instead of a whole person.  The burden of coordinating complex elder care often falls on family caregivers and causes stress.

PACE programs provides a senior care team that coordinates their efforts for the elder's benefit. Faced with multiple medical conditions, prescriptions and medical providers, elders in particular benefit from a true team approach to their care.  The PACE program helps the elder and the caregiver by caring for the whole person.

PACE surrounds the senior with an elder care team consisting of a primary care doctor, nurse, social worker, physical therapist, occupational therapist, recreational therapist or activities coordinator, PACE center director, dietician, home care liaison, health aides and drivers.  The team confers frequently to resolve elderly health care issues in clients before they get worse

PACE participants attend an adult day health center run by their program.   At the center, they receive many of the services they would receive from a nursing home.  They receive assistance with grooming, checkups from the nurse, physical and occupational therapies if needed while enjoying a social program with activities and meals. At the end of the day, they return to their homes.

To participate in a PACE program a person must be 55 years or older, certified as needing nursing home level care, live in a PACE service area and be able to live safely in the community with assistance.  Most people who participate in PACE qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid but it is not a requirement.

Locate a Pace Program near you.

Is your family receiving elder care from a PACE program?  Share your experiences with other caregivers.

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--Janice Wallace

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  4. My hope for the new year is that more areas will implement PACE programs. They are a wonderful alternative to institutionalizing frail elders. All the statistics show that elders want to stay in their own homes whenever possible. PACE programs make this possible.