As many people age, moving to a nursing home may seem inevitable. The goal of Midland Care’s PACE program is to keep seniors living at home as they get older.
PACE stands for Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly. At the PACE clinic in Topeka, there’s one patient who helps put the care in Midland Care.
“I have friends here that care about me, and I help out here,” patient Paul Schwartz said. “I fold towels.”
He said he’s been folding hundreds of towels each week over the last four years. Schwartz lives in his own apartment and visits the PACE clinic four days a week. He said the staff is happy to let him volunteer.
“They’re proud of me doing it, and they’re awful thankful I’m helping them,” he said.
Another patient goes to the PACE clinic for physical therapy and a game of dominoes. Richard Paden said the dominoes are another kind of therapy.
“It keeps my mind going cause I’ve got to count all the time,” he said.
Paden said he likes the PACE program for the same reason as Schwartz: “Everybody cares.”
Midland’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. David Wensel explained the program is meant to keep people who need assistance living in their own homes.
“The person living in PACE will actually live longer than the person that goes into a nursing home,” he said. “Not because those are bad, just because of the level of care they get and support around them to keep them living independent in the community.”
The doctors and nurses help Schwartz live on his own by helping him manage his medication for things like depression and anxiety. However, it’s not just the medicine that keeps Schwartz well.
“Folding towels and bringing the silverware up to the upper level, and all that, that’s my therapy,” he said.
Midland provides all the medical services patients need to keep living on their own. Patients meet with their doctors, nurses and therapists at the clinic. The PACE program also provides transportation to the clinic and back home for those in its care.
Patients who qualify for Medicaid and Medicare may not have to pay anything for services. Patients who don’t qualify for Medicaid and Medicare will have a monthly payment for the long-term care portion of PACE that is based on their income. Wensel said Midland doesn’t turn anyone away based on inability to pay.
To learn more about PACE, you can call 1-800-726-7450. You can also visit their website by clicking here.