Community Blog

The PACE Program- How to Care for Senior Loved Ones Without Placing Them in a Home

By Doug Feltman

Deciding whether to place a family member in a nursing home is one of the most difficult and heart wrenching decisions that we face.  It can seem like a no-win situation.  On one hand, we can continue to try to act as caregivers to a loved one whose needs have grown beyond the limits of our schedules and abilities.  On the other, we can try to convince them to leave their homes and move into assisted living facilities, an experience that is traumatic for everyone involved.  They feel the anguish of being made to leave the home they love and relocate against their will, and we experience the helplessness associated with the inability to help them and the guilt of forcing them from a place of comfort that often holds a lifetime of joyful memories.

What many of us don’t know is that there is another choice.  PACE - Programs of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly – can help provide the level of care our loved ones need while residing in their homes for as long as possible.  Over 100 PACE programs in 32 states provide for home health and personal care, along with a host of other services, for seniors 55 and older who are certified to need nursing care but can safely live in their communities.  The program is paid for by an annual fee that is typically covered by Medicare and Medicaid.

The National PACE Association says their model of care is “centered on the belief that it is better for the well-being of seniors with chronic care needs and their families to be served in the community whenever possible.”  And research conducted on PACE programs over more than 30 years proves them right.  Not only does in-home care through PACE prevent the stress of moving a senior family member into a nursing home, but it also results in better overall health and wellness.   Studies have shown that those receiving care through PACE programs have fewer hospital admissions and shorter hospital stays than the average Medicare recipient and live longer than participants in Medicaid aged and disabled waiver programs.

Most importantly, participants in PACE programs are far more likely to describe themselves as happier, healthier, and feeling as though their health and personal needs are fully met.  Both participants and caregivers give PACE high marks, with a near 100% satisfaction rate from seniors and their families.  For those of us who are facing that incredibly difficult decision of whether to relocate our loved ones or care for them ourselves, PACE provides a better alternative for all of us.

Contact me if you would like more information.