September is National PACE Month, where we celebrate the ways PACE, or Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly, improves quality of life for older adults and allows them to live as independently as possible in their own homes and communities.
“I love it, you guys have actually saved my life,” says Frances Finch, who has been a participant at Thome PACE in Jackson for the last year. A partnership between Brio Living Services and the Region 2 Area Agency on Aging, Thome PACE serves the psycho-social, medical, and supportive needs of low-income, nursing home-eligible adults, aged 55 and up. Its service area extends throughout Jackson, Hillsdale, and Lenawee counties, with a capacity of 250 total PACE participants.
Frances found out about PACE when she was at a low point in her life. “When I was in the hospital they came and told me about you guys,” she says, “I had died, and they had to put me on life support. They brought me back, and I’m thankful for that. They told me you guys would be the best option for me.” Now Frances is in good physical health thanks to PACE, which has translated into better emotional health as well.
PACE provides older adults the opportunity to continue living independently at home by providing both in-home and on-site support at the PACE Day Center. PACE’s interdisciplinary team of professionals provides participants with a “one-stop” shop model for all their healthcare needs, including comprehensive medical, occupational and physical therapy, pharmacy needs, nutrition and meals, health education, social and recreational activities, and door-to-door transportation. Most participants are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid and pay no additional fees for PACE services.
“Before, I didn’t go to the dentist because I couldn’t afford to, and my insurance wouldn’t cover my dentures, so I ended up letting my teeth go,” Frances says. Now that she has access to dental care at PACE; she says, “they have made me a new person, because now my teeth are feeling better, and I’m feeling better.”
PACE team members also helped Frances sign up for Mom’s Meals, a local meal delivery service. “The Mom’s Meals are wonderful, because sometimes I don’t feel like making anything myself during the lunch hour,” Frances says. PACE has also helped improve her relationships with her family, who no longer worry about affording medication and food for Frances. All her needs are cared for by PACE.
Frances is grateful for the peace of mind PACE has brought to her and her family. “Thank the Lord you guys came to me when you did,” she says.
To learn more about Thome PACE, visit ThomePACE.org. Or go to https://mybrio.org/medicare-pace-program-michigan/ for more information on any of Brio Living Services’ five PACE centers across lower Michigan.