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PACE is a program for adults ages 55 and older who have complex or chronic health care needs.  You may have a spouse, a neighbor or a parent who needs PACE.  This means you play an important role in their care.  Together with PACE, we can make a positive difference in your loved one’s life.

Here are five ways that caregivers can help the PACE care team:

  1. Report changes in your loved one’s condition.  If you see some confusion, an open wound or even something that you can’t describe other than not acting normal, please let us know as soon as possible.  Perhaps they are having an adverse drug reaction or have had a mini stroke?  

Getting treatment from a PACE care provider as soon as possible can help get your loved one prevent a more significant problem.  You are our eyes and ears at home.

  1. Ask for help when it is needed.  Your loved one may be a longtime participant in PACE, or they might be newly enrolled, and you don’t want to bother the medical team with a “small” request.  We don’t mind.  Honestly.  We’ll tell you if it is not within the scope of our care but most times it is.  Do you need help lifting your loved one from the bed in the morning?  We can send someone from our home care team to help with morning transitions.  Do you want to attend a faraway wedding, but you’re hesitant to leave your loved one alone?  We can arrange respite care. Maybe you’re just frustrated that your mom’s shoes keep coming undone and that she’ll trip on her laces with her Parkinson’s.  Maybe some snug fitting slip on shoes would be the answer.  

PACE offers creative solutions to holistic care.  We are here to help keep your loved one living safely at home and we genuinely want to help in ways–both big and small– to help achieve that goal.  

  1. Help keep living quarters tidy and well lit. One in four seniors fall each year, according to the National Institute for Health.  Broken bones can lead to lack of mobility and a decline in overall health.  Poor eyesight, hearing, balance, cognition and balance can contribute to falls.  So can foot problems, thyroid and heart diseases, and even diabetes can play a role.  While we might not be able to control all of these factors, we can limit the clutter, electrical cords and scatter rugs.  Well-lit areas can also help seniors avoid tripping hazards.  

If you’d like an environmental assessment to spot fall hazards, PACE would be glad to visit our participants’ homes to help identify potential issues and to install grab bars and other safety equipment to ensure safe passage in living areas.   

  1. Model healthy behaviors.  Poor diet, lack of exercise and negative self-talk are all destructive behaviors that have health consequences.  Family and friends can provide participants with positive reinforcements in the home.  Fresh fruits and vegetables, exercise and daily affirmations are positive, constructive ways to keep your loved one healthy.  

PACE has nutritionists, physical therapists and social workers on staff who would be glad to share recipes, exercises and tips for good mental health with your loved one’s caregivers.

  1. Partner with your care team.  Be an active member of the PACE care team.  Information is really essential to creating a full picture of how your loved one is doing and how they are feeling.  That’s why we at PACE hold daily interdisciplinary care team meetings where we share information from our drivers, doctors, home care aides, and social workers.  So if you have HIPPA authorization and we invite you to a family meeting, we’re actively seeking your input and we’d love it if you’d ask questions, share observations and seek recommendations from the elder care professionals at PACE.  We’d also welcome your input outside of those meetings.  Don’t hesitate to reach out to your loved one’s primary care provider if you have questions or concerns at any time.  You both have the same goal of keeping the elder in your care safe, healthy, and out of the hospital or other institutional settings. 

Working together, caregivers and care providers can make a positive difference in the quality of life for PACE participants.