New Caregiving Options for Hialeah Elderly Through PACE, a New Federal Program

May 26th, 2012 By Jackie Larena-Lacayo

New Caregiving Options For Hialeah Elderly Through Pace,
A New Federal Program

In dining rooms, at doctor’s offices and at work, caregiving for seniors is an oft-heard topic of conversation. Recently, the media has been abuzz with the first wave of baby boomers turning 66 in 2012.

Yet many families are overwhelmed with the complexity of ensuring that an elderly family member remains safe and healthy while living independently. In fact, boomers are nearing their own golden years while often supervising care for their elderly parents and raising children.

These issues have combined to create a new paradigm – a program known as PACE, Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, which aids Medicare and Medicaid members who prefer to remain in their own homes with support. Launched by Miami Jewish Health Systems (MJHS) in Hialeah this month, PACE provides comprehensive inpatient and outpatient medical care with specialty services, such as dentistry and podiatry.

Miami Jewish Health Systems’ PACE is the first authorized program in Florida and its benefits reach beyond traditional healthcare. From its location at 60 East 3rd Street in Hialeah, a team of social workers, nurses and therapists help coordinate daily social activities, housing assistance, periodic medical examinations, physical therapy, meals, transportation and much more. Eligibility includes seniors age 55 and older who live close to the designated service area and are eligible for nursing care.

 

Innovative program provides relief to caregivers and benefits to patients

Early participants are thriving and their extended families are benefiting from the innovative program too. Caregivers such as Alberto Martinez, 79, who provides care to his wife at their home, are relieved and supportive of the program.

“Words aren’t sufficient for me to express my gratitude for the PACE program,” said Mr. Martinez. “It has been a great help in providing care to my wife, who has dementia, as I myself am fairly old too.”

Research proves that seniors who are socially engaged and active stave off dementia and cognitive delay. PACE activities involve patients while also providing respite to their caregivers.

“The PACE program provides excellent treatment and gives me the opportunity for rehabilitation and to expand my mind,” commented Alberto Crossier, 79, who comes to the PACE center almost every day.

PACE saves money for families and federal budget

In addition to the family burden, caregivers typically have been forced to spend thousands of dollars a year on supervised care, assisted living facilities and nursing homes for the seniors in their families. According to the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, in 2009, there were 65.7 million caregivers – approximately 29% of the U.S. adult population – providing care to someone who was ill, disabled or aged.

“PACE is the first of the government programs that are aimed to help us age well and stay as healthy as possible,” commented Jeffrey P. Freimark, President and Chief Executive Officer of MJHS. “Our goal is to maintain and improve health levels in seniors, as well as provide enhanced quality of life for the elderly.

Often, the cost of care is born entirely by the families who would like to avoid isolating their loved ones in a traditional nursing home or Adult Congregate Living Facility.

“Many seniors can live at home with the right support. All sides benefit, because PACE is better for patients, caregivers, families and the federal coffers,” said Mr. Freimark.

 

The aging of America impacts seniors, caregivers and families

The statistics about caregiving are startling. According to the AARP Public Policy Institute, 70 percent of working caregivers suffered work-related difficulties due to their dual caregiving roles, and six percent stopped working entirely. By preventing or postponing a nursing home placement, PACE can help patients maintain a better quality of life and avoid higher costs.

“Most people don’t have the option to stop working so PACE is a lifeline that provides the patients and families with multiple options,” said Jeffrey P. Freimark.
For most caregivers, leaving the workforce means smaller Social Security checks and retirement accounts when they are in their golden years. For the employer or economy, skilled workers who drop-out create a brain drain. These scenarios are familiar to many Americans today. Innovative programs such as PACE keep seniors at home by providing additional support to loved ones who are actually providing most of the care.

PACE serves northwest Miami-Dade area

Caregivers and patients in the areas of Hialeah, Miami Lakes, Doral, and the vicinity can benefit from the Miami Jewish Health Systems PACE program. To speak to a social worker, please contact Miriam Pastor at 786.347.2040.

Miami Jewish Health Systems is one of the most innovative healthcare providers in the United States. Treating 25,000 people of all ages, ethnicities and religions annually, the not-for-profit organization, known formerly as Miami Jewish Home and Hospital, offers community-based, residential and on-campus medical programs. The 71 year old institution draws patients from across the nation and around the world for its pioneering Centers of Excellence that include: Rosomoff Comprehensive Rehabilitation Center; Brucker Biofeedback Center; Mental Health & Memory Services; Rehabilitation Services at Miami Jewish Health Systems’ Nursing Facility and the Program of All Inclusive care for the Elderly (PACE). More information on Miami Jewish Health Systems is available at www.miamijewishhealth.org.

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