When I met Lloyd Ledford, he was playing cards with two PACE@Home staff members. The game was Go Fish, and he was winning. Lloyd can’t speak because of a stroke, but his victory brought a big smile to his face, lighting up his eyes. It was his fourth visit to Catawba County’s Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE).
An initiative supported by both Medicare and state Medicaid programs, PACE@Home helps seniors with long-term care needs enjoy their independence. It also works with them to obtain all necessary health care services. The Newton, NC-based organization operates in five counties – Catawba, Lincoln, Alexander, Caldwell, and Burke – and offers a unique opportunity for older citizens and their caregivers. Program participants are provided care at the center itself, and anything not available on the premises is coordinated by the PACE@Home staff. The benefits are an incredible help for someone like Gloria Travis, Lloyd’s caregiver.
Gloria’s brother was Lloyd’s longtime friend, and the two men once shared an apartment. Although Gloria’s brother died unexpectedly, she had promised him beforehand that she would care for Lloyd if circumstances demanded it. The complexity of Lloyd’s medical problems, however, made that commitment a huge challenge, even with the assistance of a supportive home health agency.
Attentive to their struggles, the home health agency’s occupational therapist told Gloria and Lloyd about the benefits of the PACE program. Once accepted, participants like Lloyd are able to gather at PACE@Home several times a week for social interaction and medical services. They can even get help showering or bathing. Therapists, nurses, and a doctor are continually present at the PACE center, and transportation is provided to and from the facility – a welcome perk.
Immediately after coming to PACE, Lloyd gained a much-needed six pounds, increased his energy and stamina, and gained extra mobility with the aid of a walker. Gloria calls PACE “a blessing from above” and an incredible support system to help people who might otherwise remain homebound. Cathy Lewis, a nurse at PACE, beams when she talks about Lloyd and anticipates his further progress. Her commitment to his care – and his success – is obvious.
Best of all, Lloyd has somewhere to go and something to look forward to each week. Gloria says he’s easy to wake up and get dressed on PACE days and that his attitude is more positive than she’s seen in some time. She’s also told all her friends and family about the PACE program and wants everyone to know that it’s a “fantastic” opportunity.
From Lloyd’s perspective, his ultimate hope is to be back in his own apartment, strong enough to provide most of his own care. Thanks to PACE@Home, he now has a team of caregivers/cheerleaders encouraging him toward his goal!