My aging mom needs more care, what should I do?

November 10, 2021

Dear Miami Jewish Health,

My mother is living with me and is, thankfully, an active woman. However, now that she does not drive and is slowing down, she needs more support and socialization than I can provide during the week. She has diabetes and I’ve noticed that it’s getting harder for her to monitor her blood sugar, eat when she needs to, and take her medication. I don’t want to leave her home alone all day while we are at work – and she doesn’t like the idea of “leaving” her family to move to an assisted living facility. What are my options?

Signed,

Looking for a little help

 

We understand how challenging it is to be a caregiver. It’s easy to get overwhelmed trying to balance your loved one’s needs with your own. But it can help to know that you’re not alone. Since your mom does need help with her medical condition and a few day-to-day tasks, but doesn’t need round the clock medical care, Florida PACE Centers could be the solution you’re looking for.

PACE (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) is a personalized health plan and community-based provider of coordinated medical care, support services, and social engagement. Participants only need to live in a Florida PACE Centers service area, be at least 55 years old, and be eligible for nursing home care but able to live safely at home or in the community with PACE support.

All services are provided at your nearest adult day health center or at home (depending on need). You can think of the center as like a doctor’s office and social hall rolled into one. Meals and snacks are served (and in your mother’s case, a PACE nutritionist and/or physician would be helping her decide what to eat to manage her diabetes), recreational activities are going on with other PACE participants, and transportation is provided.

Plus, PACE participants can see their doctors, therapists, or specialists at the center – all of whom communicate with you and each other to coordinate your loved one’s healthcare needs. Many participants come to adult day health centers for these benefits several times each week.

By enrolling with Florida PACE Centers, your mom can get any medical care she needs while also enjoying social engagement in a safe environment, instead of staying home alone. Meanwhile, you as the caregiver can get some relief from managing all your mom’s daily activities and coordinating her medical care.

Best of all, PACE usually costs much less than an assisted living facility. If you have Medicaid only, or are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid, you may receive care at no cost. If you have Medicare only, you will pay a monthly premium for Florida PACE Centers services. A private pay option is also available. To learn more about the program and enroll, visit floridaPACEcenters.org.

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