PACE program for elderly has been around 50 years, but isn’t widely known

By Patricia Anstett: For Complete Post, Click Here…

Four days a week, Judith Wright pushes her walker to board a bus that takes her to a bustling Sterling Heights center where she mingles with friends, sees her doctor and health care team, eats two hot meals and works out in a physical therapy session to build her walking and balance.

Most days, Wright’s first stop at the PACE Southeast Michigan program is the Green Room.

“We call ourselves the party people,” said Wright, a 76-year-old widow who lives with her 50-year-old son, Darrin Letzring, in Shelby Township. She holds up a wrist with a bracelet she made with the Green Room bunch. Her ceramics and Senior Olympics medals for horseshoe and balloon tossing make her son wonder just how many more shelves she might need to hold them.

PACE assistance makes dignity affordable

Through PACE, Wright, a diabetic with anemia and limited mobility, has received all kinds of free help — an electric lift chair, a bed rail, eyeglasses and other accommodations. She takes 17 medicines, all free through the program. “In six years I haven’t even bought an aspirin,” she said.

PACE centers also have a health clinic and an urgent care center, as well as home services and other free items many Medicare plans may not cover.

“If we had to pay for everything they’ve given us, we’d be living out of my car,’’ her son said.

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