Elderly care program may expand to Toledo area

The program helps keep seniors out of nursing homes
The program helps keep seniors out of nursing homes(WTVG)
Published: Aug. 15, 2022 at 7:13 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Many of us have elderly loved ones and we want the best possible care for them. The Program for All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, or PACE, helps keep senior citizens out of nursing homes for longer, and it could be coming to the Toledo area.

Elected leaders gathered Monday, Aug. 15, to learn about the program and think about bringing it to our area.

PACE is described as a “nursing home without walls.” The seniors are bussed to a PACE Center during the day and then taken back to their homes at night. That way they can continue living at home while getting care similar to what they’d receive in a nursing home.

“It provides all needed healthcare services from long-term care to pharmaceuticals to social services to just getting a hot meal to individuals living in the community who are nursing home eligible so they can remain in their homes or in the community longer,” said Patrick Schwartz, the Director of Government Affairs & Communications at LeadingAge Ohio.

There is already a PACE Program in the Cleveland area and advocates say it is a huge success. Ann Conn is in charge of the program there, and she says the seniors love having a good quality of care while still being able to sleep in their own beds at night.

“I for instance just moved from a house I lived at for 19 years and it was really difficult,” said Conn, the President and CEO of McGregor PACE. “I can’t imagine being someone who’s lived in their home for 45 years and having to say goodbye to everything that’s comfortable and makes them feel like their at home and now they get to live in a room that’s maybe ten-by-ten.”

The PACE Program also takes a burden off the shoulders of caregivers.

“So many caregivers still work. They want to keep their elderly loved ones at home, but unless they have a facility like this where they can be cared for and given full quality medical services and social services it’s impossible for them to do,” said Billie Johnson, the President and CEO of the Area Office on Aging of Northwest Ohio.

Advocates for PACE say they are hoping that the discussion with elected leaders Monday will push them to expand the program during the lame duck legislative sessions this fall.

“The time for PACE expansion is now,” said Conn. “We can’t wait another two years to see how the program rolls out. It’s been proven in other markets, it’s been proven in other parts of the country and Toledo need a PACE organization now.”

If the program were to come to Toledo, the Margaret Hunt Senior Center would be remodeled and turned into the PACE Center.

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