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Choose PACE for all your elderly needs

BY: Tiffany Monde, Tonawanda Source | November 28, 2012

KENMORE - Back in the 1970’s a program called PACE, Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly, started out in San Francisco to give the elderly an option to let them age in place in their homes, as opposed to going into nursing homes.

This continued to spread across the country through different sponsors. Here in Western New York the program began in November of 2009, just celebrating their third anniversary, and is sponsored by Catholic Health LIFE.

“We are open to people 55 years of age and over who live in our service area and have some kind of long term needs,” said Karen Shalke, OTR and Community Liaison for Catholic Health LIFE.

Shalke said these issues might include mobility, mild cognitive impairments, difficulty with self care, and other medical needs. Once a person joins the program, PACE can be the provider of choice through their lifespan; no one ever ages out of the program.

They provide all their medical care, home care, transportation and also have a day center.

“It’s something that people have to look at and a lot of people would prefer to age in place in their home if they can safely do so,” said Shalke. “I’m an OTR, I’ve worked in long term care for 18 years, and not too often do I come across someone who wakes up and says I want to go live in a nursing home today.”

One of the things to take into consideration, when determining if this is a good program for someone, is how safe they are in their home with support from family and the program support.

If someone has advanced dementia, lives alone with no family support system, that person will not be safe at home.

If that same person is living with a family member, who just works during the day, they could be picked up to spend the day in their day center, and then taken back home at night.

This would give them the care they needed.

“It really is a case by case situation,” said Shalke.

She said it is an important time for people to educate themselves on their options.

“There are lots of changes coming with Medicare redesign and it is currently occurring downstate, and spreading across the state, with changes set to hit Erie County next December,” said Shalke.

At that time anybody who is in need of community based long term care services will be required to select a managed program and they are one of the programs eligible to be selected.

“Medicaid redesigned is defiantly coming to Erie County and we just think we are an excellent option for people to select,” said Shalke.

“Most people given the opportunity would stay home and this is just an option for them to be able to do that.”

If you would like more information check out their website at www.chsbuffalo.org/Services/SeniorServices/LIFE or you can call them at 819-5433.

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