That well-known phrase—home sweet home—may never be sweeter than during our golden years. Making “aging in place” possible, however, often means making changes and adjustments to our lifestyles and to our homes. It also often means we must reach out for help.
Senior Care Partners P.A.C.E. (Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly) brings personalized care to seniors with chronic care needs through a compassionate team approach while helping seniors stay in their own homes. With offices in Kalamazoo, Portage, Albion, and Battle Creek, Senior Care Partners P.A.C.E. (SCPP) helps eligible seniors avoid institutional care by providing coordinated preventive, primary, acute, and long-term care services in the community.
“Our vision and plan are to serve older adults at any stage in the aging process,” says Laura Ferrara, chief executive officer of SCPP. “We offer a continuum of services and care focused on wellness, caregiver support, education, and progressive home- and community-based supports, services, and medical care. I’m personally excited by the opportunity to allow older adults to age well and live well.”
How it works
Established in 2006, SCPP is centered on the belief that seniors and their families are better served in their own homes rather than through institutional care. The P.A.C.E. model, developed in the 1970s, serves the needs of Medicare and Medicaid older adults aged 55 and older. SCPP also welcomes adults who are not on Medicaid and Medicare for an affordable monthly cost.
Seniors wishing to participate in SCPP begin with a call to 269.441.9319. A representative then discusses what needs are to be met, checks eligibility, develops a plan of care, and enrolls the participant. To be eligible, the senior must be at least 55 years or older and be a resident of Kalamazoo County, Calhoun County, eastern Van Buren County, southeast Allegan County, or southern Barry County. They must meet nursing home level of care guidelines as determined by the State of Michigan and be able to live safely at home with the help of SCPP.
Medical services provided through SCPP include hearing, dentistry, vision, psychiatry, speech therapy, nursing, physical and occupational therapies, nutritional services, social work, medications, and home care services. SCPP also maintains contracts with many specialists and providers in the community. Transportation services take participants to medical appointments and to and from the Adult Day Health Center, a multi-purpose center that is open weekdays to provide social interaction, nutrition support, activities, therapies, and medical services.
“Our Day Center gives participants the opportunity to get out of the house for part of the day,” says Katherine Kemp, director of marketing and enrollment. “They can enjoy a hot meal, participate in group and individual fitness activities or play a game, arts and crafts, spiritual wellness programs, adaptive gardening, any number of activities. We have on-site physician and medical supervision, so you know your loved one is safe. That also gives the caregiver respite time, when they know their loved one is safe and receiving great care.”
Attending the Day Center is not mandatory, Kemp says, but is encouraged as participants can combat loneliness, partake in physical and cognitive activities, and eradicate caregiver fatigue.
At home, participants can expect help, as well. SCPP representatives can assist with meal preparation, house cleaning and laundry, bathing, and run errands such as grocery shopping. Participants are able to continue physical and occupational therapy at home, if needed, and receive skilled nursing care.
For the caregiver, SCPP provides caregiver training and support groups.
“This gives the caregiver relief and peace of mind during the day,” Kemp says. “We’ve found that having the participant attend the Day Center often improves the quality of the relationship between the caregiver and their loved one. It can take much of the pressure off the caregiver’s shoulders.”
Life is more than just meeting our basic needs—and SCPP knows that. Employees get to know participants. They hear those fondest wishes, and for three years in a row, they have listened. In 2019-2020, SCPP employees donated nearly $11,000 to make dreams come true through a program called Fulfill a Dream.
Among the 16 dreams fulfilled during that time period, a participant received an easel with paints along with a lift recliner so that she might sit and paint in comfort. Another participant received a new bed to replace his broken one, along with bedding, a rug, and a small refrigerator. Another participant was gifted a trip to Atlanta to visit her brother, and yet another received an online shopping spree for clothing.
“Our 300 employees bring our core values to the nearly 600 participants we currently serve,” says Ferrara. “We have a strong desire to support those in need. We practice servant leadership and strive to provide a place to belong and a purpose for being. Senior Care Partners staff bring compassion, integrity, teamwork, and excellence to our work with a purpose of providing independence and autonomy to our participants.”
Great Place to Work® and FORTUNE both have honored Senior Care Partners P.A.C.E. as one of the 2020 Best Workplaces for Aging Services. The ranking considered feedback representing 189,159 employees working for Great Place to Work-Certified™ organizations in Senior Housing & Care and At-Home Care in the Aging Services industry.
“We are grateful to every one of our employees who has validated the important mission and care that Senior Care Partners P.A.C.E provides to our most vulnerable neighbors here in southwestern Michigan,” says Ferrara. “Our philosophy is that life matters at every stage and our employees embody this commitment with every patient we serve.”
To learn more about Senior Care Partners P.A.C.E., visit www.seniorcarepartnersmi.org or talk to a representative at 269.441.9319.