NC PACE Association Blog

Posted November 7, 2018 by Ms. Robin Iten Porter

North Carolina had a healthy contingent last month at the National PACE Association annual conference in Portland, Oregon, with active participation in committee meetings, educational sessions and an award winner.

Tim Clontz, the first chair of the NC PACE Association and co-founder of three North Carolina PACE programs, won the Judy Baskins Volunteer Leadership Award. The award recognizes volunteer leaders for their significant contributions to NPA. NPA attributes much of its success to the commitment, passion and inspiration of its volunteer leaders. Tim brought that same leadership to the NC PACE Association, hence his nomination. Thanks and congratulations, Tim!

The exponential growth of PACE was a major theme at the conference, as NPA is committed to more than doubling participants - from 47,000 currently to 200,000 in 2028 – through the PACE 2.0 project. North Carolina’s PACE of the Triad was selected as the project’s test site, and Piedmont Health SeniorCare was one of a handful of programs nationally that served as a mentor and “bright spot” for its growth success. Ursula Robinson, Executive Director of PACE of the Triad, made multiple presentations on their 2.0 experience as well as sharing lessons learned in developing an Alternative Care Setting.

Kelly Stout, a pharmacist with Piedmont Health SeniorCare, partnered with Milliman for an excellent presentation on understanding Part D financials. Thomas Chang and Angelic Flack, Carolina SeniorCare, shared a dashboard they developed to inform care management decisions through a poster presentation.

Members from North Carolina programs serve on several NPA committees, including Quality, Public Policy, Education and the State PACE Leadership Council, and participated in committee meetings while attending the conference.

We were thrilled to see many of our North Carolina PACE Partners in Portland, and we are looking forward to seeing them again at our own conference in Charlotte on April 11-12, 2019.

(Add the conference your Outlook calendar here.)

Thanks and kudos to National PACE Association and Providence ElderPlace (Portland’s PACE program) for a fun and educational experience.

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Posted November 6, 2018 by Ms. Robin Iten Porter

For the first time in more than five years, existing North Carolina PACE programs have an opportunity to expand into new communities across North Carolina.

The State of North Carolina has issued a Request for Applications (RFA) and will consider the expansion of up to three existing programs. Currently, PACE is available to North Carolinians in only about a third of the state.

Applications are due November 20, 2018, and the state will decide by December 10, 2018.

The expansion is a direct result of legislation secured by the NC PACE Association. “This is a fine finishing touch to the first decade of PACE in North Carolina. Our education and advocacy to promote the critical work of PACE is finally yielding results,” Executive Director Linda Shaw of the NC PACE Association said in an email to stakeholders and partners.

“We must expand PACE into more communities and increase access to this wonderful program,” she added.

Want to support this effort? You can join a community that supports the frail elderly with a remarkable, human-centered approach to senior care. Your organization can become a NC PACE Association Partner and help get care to those who need it most.

Discover new business opportunities by signing up today.

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Posted November 6, 2018 by Ms. Robin Iten Porter

Last month, Vital Research released findings from a survey on PACE caregivers in North Carolina. Overall, PACE received high satisfaction scores as a care provider in supporting family caregivers.

The survey on caregiver burden found that 96.6 percent of family members are satisfied with the support they receive through NC PACE programs, and 97.5 percent of family caregivers would consider recommending a NC PACE program to someone in a similar situation.

Nearly half (49.6 percent) of family members reported high caregiver burden at the time their loved one enrolled in PACE. After enrollment, more than 58 percent of those experienced less burden.

“Most caregivers want to provide support for their loved ones but might not have the resources to do it themselves,” said Executive Director Linda Shaw of the NC PACE Association. “Our North Carolina PACE programs can give professional support to family caregivers.”

The PACE model of care is centered around an interdisciplinary team that delivers care across various settings. As a result, PACE can tailor care plans for enrollees and their families, providing respite care and caregiver training and support.

With 11 programs in 37 counties, NC PACE programs provide care to individuals age 55 and over who qualify for a nursing home level of care. PACE is the most successful model for keeping individuals out of nursing homes and in the community, where they enjoy a higher quality of life, remain connected to the community, and receive care in the most cost-effective way.

You can view highlights from the survey in the infographic below.

Infographic NC PACE Caregiver
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Posted October 9, 2018 by Ms. Robin Iten Porter
Herbal Supplements

This article was provided by CareKinesis, a PACE Partner and medication management and distribution company.

To the body, herbal products are medications, also.

As we age, health issues can arise that require us to take more medications concurrently. Studies show that individuals aged 65 and over use an average of seven medications, with 46% on medication regimens in which a multi-drug interaction is possible.1 A multi-drug interaction occurs when drugs are administered together, and the activity of one drug affects the other. It is estimated that the risk of an adverse drug event (ADE) stemming from a drug interaction is 13% when taking two medications simultaneously, 58% when taking five medications, and 82% when taking seven or more.2 However, the danger is not limited to prescription and over-the-counter medications; ADEs can occur when herbal supplements interact with prescription medications.

The National Health Statistics Reports data for 2012 reports that 17.7% of American adults use nonvitamin, nonmineral dietary supplements.3 The most commonly-used supplements are ginkgo, garlic, ginseng, St. John’s Wort, echinacea, saw palmetto, evening primrose oil, and ginger.4 While herbal supplements are widely available in pharmacies, nutritional stores, and supermarkets, it is important to know that they can cause multi-drug interactions when used with certain prescription medications. These interactions can result in headaches, restlessness, nausea, and irritability, and more serious symptoms such as blood glucose or blood pressure changes, anxiety, and dizziness.4

Herbal supplements are sometimes used to treat or prevent common conditions, such as diabetes. In 2015, 415 million adults were living with diabetes.5 Several herbal supplements are used either to prevent diabetes, or to enhance the effects of prescription medications taken for its treatment. While some herb-drug interactions can indeed enhance the effects of other diabetes medications, certain herbal supplements can decrease the effectiveness of medications or even cause adverse drug events.5 Studies have shown that gymnema (Gurmar) can decrease the amount of metformin circulating in the body and increase blood sugar levels, resulting in hyperglycemia, a condition associated with poor diabetes control.5 Andrographis paniculata, also known as green chiretta, has been shown to inhibit the body’s ability to process several antidiabetic medications, such as glibenclamide (Glynase), glimepiride (Amaryl), and glipizide (Glucotrol).5 This drug interaction results in an increase in the amount of antidiabetic medication circulating in the body, which in turn can cause lower than expected blood sugar levels resulting in hypoglycemia. Left unrecognized and untreated, hypoglycemia can lead to loss of consciousness, seizures, coma, and even death.

According to the World Health Organization, roughly 257 million people are living with hepatitis B, a type of chronic hepatitis. An increasing number of chronic hepatitis patients is seeking alternative medicine and herbal supplements to either replace or complement traditional treatments.6 Popular Chinese herbal formulas for the treatment and prevention of hepatitis are becoming more widely used in the U.S. These include single herb formulas such as silibinin, Scutellaria baicalensis, and Salvia miltiorrhiza, as well as multi-herb formulas such as Jia-Wei-Xiao-Yao-San, Long-Dan-Xie-Gan-Tang (LDXGT), Xiao-Chai-Hu-Tang, and Yin-Chen-Wu-Ling-San.6 Use of the multi-herb formulas can be particularly dangerous due to the lack of ingredient regulation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the potential for multi-drug interactions. Potential for herb-drug interactions exists between LDXGT and lamivudine, a medication used to treat hepatitis B, which can lead to an increased concentration of lamivudine in the body and lengthen the amount of time it takes to eliminate it from the body.6

Up to 40% of people with cardiovascular disease have used alternative medicine, including herbal supplements.7 Warfarin is the most commonly used medication for the prevention of blood clots in people with cardiovascular risk, and it can potentially interact with other prescription medications and herbal supplements. St. John’s Wort and American ginseng have been shown to reduce warfarin’s effectiveness, while garlic and ginger exhibit similar effects to warfarin on their own, and their use alongside of warfarin has been shown to cause or contribute to spontaneous bleeding.7

In summary, up to 88% of older adults report using herbal supplements with prescription medications, yet most do not report such use to their healthcare providers.4 It is important to let your doctor or pharmacist know about all medications you are taking, including prescription, over-the-counter, and supplements, to avoid potential problems that may arise with the use of herbal supplements along with prescription medications. Your interdisciplinary PACE team and CareKinesis are here to help minimize risks that may come with the medications and supplements that you need to live a long and healthy life.

Want to learn more how CareKinesis and PACE work together?


CareKinesis is the first national PACE-centric, medication management and distribution pharmacy that focuses on reducing medication-related risk while enhancing economic, clinical, and humanistic outcomes. Visit the CareKinesis website for more information.

Reference list:

  1. Bjorkman IK, Fastbom J, Schmidt IK, Bernsten CB, Pharmaceutical Care of the Elderly in Europe Research (PEER) Group. Drug-drug interactions in the elderly. Ann Pharmacother. 2002 Nov;36(11):1675-81.
  2. Gujjarlamudi HB. Polytherapy and drug interactions in elderly. J Midlife Health. 2016 Jul-Sep;7(3):105-107.
  3. Clarke TC, Black LI, Stussman BJ, et al. Trends in the use of complementary health approaches among adults: United States, 2002–2012. National health statistics reports; no 79. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2015.
  4. Agbabiaka TB, Wider B, Watson LK, Goodman. Concurrent Use of Prescription Drugs and Herbal Medicinal Products in Older Adults: A Systematic Review. Drugs Aging. 2017 Dec;34(12):891-905.
  5. Gupta RC, Chang D, Nammi S, Bensoussan A, Bilinski K, Roufogalis BD. Interactions between antidiabetic drugs and herbs: an overview of mechanisms of action and clinical implications. Diabetol Metab Syndr. 2017 Jul 26;9:59.
  6. Hsueh TP, Lin WL, Tsai TH. Pharmacokinetic interactions of herbal medicines for the treatment of chronic hepatitis. J Food Drug Anal. 2017 Apr;25(2):209-218. doi: 10.1016/j.jfda.2016.11.010.
  7. Choi S, Oh DS, Jerng UM. A systematic review of the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic interactions of herbal medicine with warfarin. PLoS One. 2017 Aug 10;12(8):e0182794.
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Posted October 3, 2018 by Ms. Robin Iten Porter

The past two weeks have been challenging for PACE programs and citizens throughout the state, particularly those located in southern and eastern North Carolina. Hurricane Florence simply wouldn’t leave, dumping massive amounts of rain for days. All of our PACE programs experienced storm impacts (closures, power outages, transportation challenges, leaky roofs), but Elderhaus in Wilmington and LIFE St. Joseph of the Pines in Fayetteville were hardest hit.

Land access to Wilmington was cut off for several days, making it very difficult for evacuees to return home. Elderhaus sustained minimal damage to its facilities, but some staff and participants were displaced by flooding and fallen trees. Many LIFE St. Joseph staff members and participants were evacuated due to flooding which continued well after Flo dissipated, and some staff members suffered extensive damage to their homes. Despite it all, our PACE programs maintained constant contact with participants and their caregivers to ensure everyone’s safety. All programs are now re-opened, although closed and damaged roads will continue to present transportation issues.

How You Can Help

To donate to the NC Disaster Relief Fund established in the Governor's office, go to this website or text Florence to 20222. Contributions can also be mailed to:

NC Disaster Relief Fund
20312 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699

To find a fairly comprehensive list of recovery resources including information on several additional charitable organizations accepting donations and a listing of the most needed items after a disaster, as well as information on helping pets stranded by the storm, filing insurance claims and replacing important documents, go to the WRAL-TV website.

If you have questions about a specific PACE program, please email us at the NC PACE Association or call 919-234-1707.

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Posted October 3, 2018 by Ms. Robin Iten Porter

Did you know that seniors can receive assistance from the state to buy food?

NC’s Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) is a federal food assistance program available to any low-income individuals and families. It’s based on income and other financial resources, household composition and citizenship status.

And now the state has made it even easier for certain seniors to receive assistance. Those 65 and older on Supplemental Security Income (SSI), with a few other qualifications, have been identified and invited to participate in SNAP.

SNAP is the Simplified Nutritional Assistance Program. Its application is shorter, with fewer program rules. Recipients are certified for a three-year period before needing to be renewed. Applications were mailed to eligible seniors; if you missed yours, contact your local Department of Social Services (DSS) for an application or apply online.

What is SNAP exactly?

With either FNS or SNAP, seniors can buy food and food-related items with an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card. Lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and other food are available to seniors on SNAP.

All seniors need to do is fill out an application form; in some cases, they will also interview with a DSS worker. Once approved, they’ll automatically receive funds for food loaded onto their EBT card every month.

High Risk in NC

Why are we talking about this now? North Carolina has one of the highest rates of food insecurity for seniors, yet only 1 in 3 eligible seniors participates in FNS. In addition to rolling out SNAP, the state is also doing specific outreach efforts to target dual eligible seniors (eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid) who are not yet participating.

In its pilot project, the state has contacted over 50,000 dual eligibles and enrolled 2,967 to date. That’s a lot of seniors potentially missing out of the health benefits of good nutrition and help putting food on the table.

Visit the North Carolina FNS and SNAP website in North Carolina for more information. You can apply online, download an application, visit your county Department of Social Services, or call 1-866-719-0141 (the SNAP specific number is 1-855-486-9333).

* USDA also announced that D-SNAP, or disaster funds, were awarded to help those in Hurricane Florence affected areas replace lost food, and other flexibilities. Visit the NC D-SNAP page for more information.

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Posted August 27, 2018 by Ms. Robin Iten Porter

PACE or Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly is proud to announce three key strategic new hires: Toni Hively, Executive Director at Senior CommUnity Care; Adam Hyatt, Executive Director at Elderhaus PACE; and Connie Goodson, Executive Director at LIFE St. Joesph of the Pines.

Toni Hively

Toni Hively started as Executive Director for Senior CommUnity Care of NC in January 2018. Although she is new to NC and SCCNC; she is not new to the PACE program. Toni was the executive for four PACE programs in Southwestern PA for the past 7 years. Prior to that, she had worked in community-based services and skilled nursing facilities. Toni is a speech pathologist with a master’s degree in public administration. She moved to the area in December and has enjoyed the warm weather and all the friendly people in NC. Toni loves the PACE mission because it gives folks with limited resources the same opportunity as others to age in place in their home.

Adam Hyatt

Adam Hyatt is the new Executive Director for Elderhaus PACE. Adam first came to Elderhaus in 2013 working directly with senior participants as a recreational therapist. In his five years in the program Adam has also served as PACE center manager and PACE program director. Adam has witnessed firsthand how lives can be transformed through the support provided by Elderhaus and looks forward to building upon that legacy.

Connie Goodson

Connie Goodson was selected as the new Executive Director for SJP-LIFE, a PACE facility located in Fayetteville, NC in May 2018. Connie has been with St. Joseph of the Pines - LIFE since 2011, holding the positions of Social Work Manager and Assistant Director, her current role for the past 3 years. Connie holds a Bachelor of Arts and Masters in Social Work (M.S.W.) from the University of South Carolina, located in Columbia, and has been a resident of Fayetteville for the past 25 years. As part of her new responsibilities, Connie will serve on the organization's senior management team as our LIFE representative. Connie has a great love for people and will continue to hold steadfast to the mission and core values of LIFE-SJP.

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Posted August 3, 2018 by Ms. Robin Iten Porter

We have some good news: Legislators want to expand PACE (Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) to reach more frail elders in unserved areas.

The North Carolina General Assembly has directed the NC Department of Health and Human Services to submit no less than three options for expansion, including alternatives that involve statewide expansion and expansion by zip code specific service areas to a legislative committee by December 1, 2018.

This requirement, and several others, was included in the 2018-2019 State Budget. (See page 98.)

Why is this a big deal? It’s the first time since 2013 that the possibility of bringing PACE to new areas is real. It opens the door for reaching the 60+ counties that currently are not served by PACE.

And the need for PACE will only grow over time. Thousands of older North Carolinians need long-term care due to chronic illnesses. Twelve percent of North Carolina’s population is 65+ with nearly 150,000 residents 85+. Bringing PACE into additional counties and adding zip codes in most existing service areas will benefit these people.


Most older adults want to live at home for as long as possible. PACE allows citizens who are 55+ and eligible for nursing home care to stay at home – where they receive comprehensive, coordinated care from a team of providers – rather than moving to a nursing home.

Legislators are moving in the right direction by recognizing the needs of senior citizens who tend to be more comfortable at home, closer to families, friends, and loved ones.

Regulatory Relief in Sight?

The new legislation also identified the need to review and potentially ease regulations on PACE programs.

Currently, there is considerable duplication in the state’s regulations impacting PACE, and regulators still struggle with how and where PACE fits in the existing health care framework.

Easing the regulatory burden on PACE programs would yield cost savings, enabling faster and further program growth.


The Association is committed to working with the General Assembly and the Administration for the expansion of PACE in North Carolina. As policymakers look for ways to improve health care and rein in costs, they will undoubtedly recognize PACE as a model of care which benefits all.

Want PACE in your community? Learn how to contact your legislators here.

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Posted July 19, 2018 by Ms. Robin Iten Porter

On a sunny summer day in July, PACE of the Southern Piedmont celebrated its 5-year anniversary. The whole community attended to show their appreciation for PACE staff members and participants.

There’s good reason to celebrate. Since opening in July 2013, PACE has served over 300 participants, with 100% of their caregivers reporting they would recommend PACE to someone in need according to the 2018 Annual Satisfaction Survey.

Board Chair Tim Clontz and Executive Director and CEO Renee Rizzuti were also present for the occasion. Together, they communicated their vision to ensure access to care for all elders in the community.

In North Carolina there are 11 PACE programs that have served over 3,500 participants in 36 counties since its inception in 2008. Nationally there are 122 PACE Programs serving over 40,000 PACE enrollees in 31 states.

PACE (Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly) empowers seniors to stay in control of their health, allowing them and their caregivers to age in place and thrive in the home and community they love.

For more information about PACE of the Southern Piedmont, visit

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Posted July 12, 2018 by Ms. Robin Iten Porter
PACE Medical Staff

Did you know that some medical conditions can be overlooked at your medical evaluation? When you visit a PACE Center for the first time, you want the doctor to capture all active medical conditions. However, she may not document a past medical condition. Why? She won’t know they’re there.

Some conditions are “quiescent” or dormant. This means they may not be an issue now, yet they still exist. For example, if you had a toe amputation 30 years ago, you may not feel the need to share this information. After all, what’s there to say? You’ve been living without any complications for years now.

Despite the seeming irrelevancy of some medical conditions, the PACE physician still needs to accurately document your medical history. You should communicate any past conditions or surgeries, including hereditary diseases in your family such as Alzheimer’s or dementia. Giving the PACE doctor a complete picture of your health will mean a better outcome for your long-term care goals.

How can you prepare for your doctor visit at PACE?

When you share your medical information, our interdisciplinary team can capture accurate data and develop a customized care plan that fits your needs. Here are some tips for talking to the doctor at your medical evaluation at PACE:

  • Bring notes about your symptoms: how long you’ve been experiencing them, how often they occur, and if you’ve seen another physician about them
  • List all past medical conditions and illnesses in your family
  • Write down what medications you’re taking and their dosage
  • Bring any copies of recent reports or tests
  • Remember you can always have your caregiver with you

Sharing your medical history alone does not mean you’re eligible for PACE. But it’s the first step to reveal your ideas, concerns, and expectations before enrolling in a program. And if you’re enrolled, the details will help you get the care you need.

For more information about how to enroll in PACE, visit our website here.

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Posted July 5, 2018 by Ms. Robin Iten Porter
PACE Participant Bowling

Now serving more than 2,000 frail seniors, PACE or Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly offers a unique blend of community-based care and services to its participants in North Carolina. For many, the program is a no-brainer for the medical services alone, but there’s a lot more to the model of care PACE provides.

As a PACE participant, you’ll get access to prescription drugs, doctor care, transportation, home care, checkups, therapy, and hospital visits when necessary. In most cases, costs are covered by Medicare and Medicaid (if eligible).

Other perks may include medically-necessary care and services not covered by Medicare and Medicaid that our team may decide you need. For instance, PACE participants may receive help adapting their home when mobility issues arise. Services are rendered so you can continue living safely in your community.

What are the criteria to enroll in PACE?

You are aged 55 years or older.

You live in the service area of a PACE organization. Click here to find a program in your area.

You’re certified by the state of North Carolina as needing a nursing home level of care. PACE will provide a free medical assessment to determine whether you qualify for this level of care. After the assessment, your application is sent to the state of North Carolina for final approval.

You would be able to live safely in the community if you get PACE services. An in-home assessment is conducted by a PACE specialist to ensure your safety. Depending upon your personal circumstances, most programs require that you have a designated caregiver or partner you can count on for support and assistance.

Want to sign up for PACE? Speaking with an enrollment specialist is free and is the first step to getting the coordinated care you need. To get started, contact the local PACE program in your area.

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Posted June 28, 2018 by Ms. Robin Iten Porter
Prescription Bottles

As a caregiver, the Fourth of July can be a wonderful time to spend with your loved one. Independence Day brings grills, pools, and fireworks to mind, but maybe you’ve been thinking about encouraging more personal independence for your loved one.

If Mom struggles to perform everyday tasks, then you may be shouldering the responsibility of her daily care. It’s easy to get into the habit of doing things “for” your loved one rather than “with” them. Over time the physical and mental energy you exert on these routine actions can take a toll.

Admitting you need help is not a sign of failure. It is a recognition that both you and your loved one need support. One option that offers both medical care for the frail elderly and assistance to their caregivers is PACE or Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly.

PACE is a long-term care option which enables seniors who are eligible for nursing-home level of care to continue living safely at home and in their community. The model of care focuses on the person as a whole, comprehensively addressing social, nutritional, physical, emotional and medical concerns. This approach helps them live the highest possible quality of life and fosters healthy independent living within the home.

Staff at PACE see it all the time; new participants who are frail and dependent. They have been living alone, not eating properly, not having stimulating conversations, struggling to get dressed, and dealing with multiple medical conditions. But once enrolled in PACE with a customized care plan, they thrive and re-gain much of their independence. Imagine the life your loved one can enjoy with the support of all-inclusive care from PACE.

Key Takeaways

  • Everyday tasks performed by caregivers can lead to exhaustion and burnout
  • Independence in the home is achievable through dignified care services
  • Many seniors gain independence when they receive comprehensive care from PACE
  • PACE works with seniors and their caregivers to transform daily activities into special memories that last a lifetime

This Fourth of July, PACE is celebrating hundreds of North Carolinian seniors who continue to live independently through our comprehensive services. To learn more about aging in place with PACE contact your local PACE program today.

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Posted June 21, 2018 by Ms. Robin Iten Porter
Prescription Bottles

When the doctor prescribes a new medication, we often forget what to ask.

There’s no standard way that health care providers talk to patients about medications. But when you enroll in PACE, our doctors and nurses clearly communicate what to expect when taking a new prescription.

Luckily, we have a list of questions to ask when you visit an outside doctor or pharmacist. These FAQs were suggested by Southern Pharmacy, a partner and pharmacy provider for some PACE programs.

Southern Pharmacy provides a range of services to PACE participants such as high-level accuracy when dispensing medications, specialized packaging, daily deliveries, and much more. PACE and Southern Pharmacy take full responsibility for the medication management of our beloved seniors.

Not enrolled in PACE and picking up a new prescription? Here are 15 things you should ask your doctor or pharmacist before leaving your appointment.

Important Questions to Ask Your Doctor or Pharmacist When Taking a New Rx

  1. What is the name of my medication?
  2. What does my medication do?
  3. How long should I take my medication?
  4. What should I do if I feel better and I do not want to finish the entire amount of medication prescribed by my doctor?
  5. Does my medication contain anything that can cause an allergic reaction?
  6. What foods, drinks, or activities should I avoid while taking this medication?
  7. Is it safe for me to take this medication with other drugs or dietary supplements, or alcohol?
  8. Should I expect any side effects from my medication?
  9. Is there a generic version of my medication?
  10. What should I do if I miss a dose of my medication?
  11. How soon should I feel the effects of the medication?
  12. Will any tests be necessary while I am taking this medication?
  13. What are the risks associated with the medication, and do the benefits outweigh those risks?
  14. How should I store my medications, and how long can I keep them?
  15. What about disposal of unused medications?

Want to learn more about what Southern Pharmacy does for PACE?

Southern Pharmacy

Check out the Southern Pharmacy website here.

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Posted June 14, 2018 by Ms. Robin Iten Porter
JaneJane Venick, MSW, LCSW with Senior CommUnity Care

Are you or a loved one afraid to spend your senior years alone?

Many older adults deal with social isolation and lack of community support, especially in the LGBT community. LGBT seniors have often faced rejection from their families, the loss of a spouse, or the pain of their children moving away. That’s why LGBT older adults need sensitive, welcoming, and affirming long-term care.

Whom to Trust for LGBT Aging Assistance

Statewide there is a long-term care option available for all older adults, including LGBT seniors. Known as PACE (Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly), non-profit programs across North Carolina provide comprehensive medical services to keep frail loved ones living at home.

“Seniors who come to us already suffer from discrimination just for being older. It’s even more so if they’re LGBT,” says Jane Venick, social services manager at Senior CommUnity Care, a PACE center in Durham, NC. She works with LGBT older clients and is herself gay. “We serve many diverse populations, including the LGBT community.”

PACE allows frail seniors to continue living at home and provides transportation to the PACE center. The center provides medical services, therapy, meals, nutrition assistance, and social activities. Clients feel a sense of camaraderie since they’ve lived through the difficult times of being gay, bi, lesbian, or trans. Seniors enrolled in PACE are empathetic and look out for one another.

The All-Inclusivity of PACE

How do you know that PACE is welcoming to LGBT individuals and their families? Here are a few things PACE does to ensure inclusivity:

  • PACE recognizes the rights of all individuals in the community including lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender persons in all statewide programs.
  • Every person enrolled in PACE receives a Participant Bill of Rights that outlines non-discrimination based on gender, race, religion, or sexual orientation.
  • There are Inclusive Space signs posted in English and Spanish at entrances to Senior CommUnity Care to let visitors know PACE is LGBT welcoming.
  • Staff members use such terms as “partner,” “significant other,” and “recognize same-sex spouse” as well as a person’s preferred pronouns.
  • PACE defines family in the broadest sense, including non-married partnerships, friends, and neighbors or any persons who choose to live together to provide mutual help and support.
  • Staff members participate in cultural competency training to ensure our services meet the needs of LGBT seniors.

How Can I Find Out More?

You can learn more about PACE at the Triangle Expo for LGBT Aging Adults this coming Saturday, June 23 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Hosted by SAGE (Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders), staff from Senior CommUnity Care will be on-site to answer any questions.

For more information about the Expo, visit the LGBT Center of Raleigh website here.

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Posted June 12, 2018 by Ms. Robin Iten Porter
Snoezelen RoomSnoezelen Room at Carolina SeniorCare

When your loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, your family may make the decision to look for long-term care. Finding the right provider can be difficult but there’s a program which allows your loved one to stay at home and receive the treatment they need. PACE (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) serves multiple counties across North Carolina. Approximately half of the seniors enrolled in PACE programs in this state have Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. Some can benefit from a drug-free therapy known as the Snoezelen room.

What’s a Snoezelen Room?

The Snoezelen room (pronounced “Snoozlin”) is a therapy technique designed to relax people with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other diseases. Derived from Dutch, Snoezelen means “to doze” and “to sniff.” The room is a controlled environment where those with Alzheimer’s can feel safe and non-threatened. The experience of a Snoezelen room can transport one away from the pressures of everyday stimuli.

There are Snoezelen rooms located in two PACE facilities at Life St. Joseph of the Pines in Fayetteville, NC and Carolina Senior Care in Lexington, NC. Each one is different; however, both are structured environments put together by PACE. They are effective in decreasing Alzheimer’s or dementia participants’ agitation and tendency to wander.

Snoezelen rooms come in a variety of environments with different equipment. Every room is an adventure and can have colorful lights, bubble tubes, and a projector and color wheel, which throws images across the ceiling and walls of the Snoezelen room. The equipment provides visual stimulation and can encourage your loved one to relax while he or she watches the images float by.

Snoezelen rooms can be dialed up or down depending on the progression of your loved one’s disease. If they’re high-functioning, they can handle more stimulation like spinning lights and dramatic sound. But if they are in the later stages of Alzheimer’s it’s best to keep the stimuli limited to things like quiet music and a vibrating pillow.

If you are frustrated because you’ve been unable to communicate with your loved one, Snoezelen room therapy may help. Some participants began speaking in one or two sentences or even engaging in entire conversations after exposure to the Snoezelen room. Snoezelen therapy doesn’t necessarily mean your loved one will recognize you, but it can increase the bond you have with them.

A Snoezelen room won’t stop or reverse the progression of Alzheimer’s. But it can help your family member feel less fearful, less stressed, calmer, and more relaxed. Snoezelen rooms have helped our participants and may help your loved one too. If you want more information about how PACE treats its participants with Alzheimer’s or dementia, contact your local PACE program here.

And you can also join us for The Longest Day by The Alzheimer’s Association next Thursday, June 21. Our staff will be wearing purple and telling our participants with Alzheimer’s how much we love them. To find out more about the event, visit the Alzhemier’s Association website.
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Posted June 7, 2018 by Ms. Robin Iten Porter

Living at home is possible as you grow older. Even if you or your loved one have medical issues, there are long-term care options to keep you in the home you love. Sound too good to be true? You should know that aging in place isn’t a dream – you can make it a reality.

PACE (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) gives you the ability to live in your home and community even as your health declines. The model of care PACE provides is designed to keep a nursing home qualified person with multiple health issues safely in their home instead. PACE does this by providing a comprehensive array of medical care and supportive services.

The support you receive at PACE depends entirely on your situation. When you apply, the PACE team conducts an assessment to determine what care you need to continue living at home. The care you will receive at PACE is all-inclusive. In other words, enrolling in PACE means you sign up for a total package of benefits – you cannot select services a la carte. Here is a brief list of help PACE offers:

What medical services does PACE offer?

  • Primary care
  • Prescription drugs
  • Dentistry
  • Optometry
  • Podiatry
  • Rehab therapy

What additional care and services does PACE provide?

  • Personal care – washing, bathing, or dressing
  • Household chores and maintenance
  • Meals – at home and at the PACE center
  • Finances – paying bills, managing money

What other services does PACE have?

  • Getting around safely – transportation services, mobility aids
  • Social activities – adult day care activities at the center
  • Safety – emergency alert systems, housing modifications

Where can I go to find more information?

If you have specific questions about PACE, contact the local PACE program in your area. When you call, ask to speak to an enrollment specialist. He or she will be able to answer your questions and give you direction on common needs that must be met if you want to age in place.

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Posted April 26, 2018 by Ms. Robin Iten Porter
Ashton and Steve
Center Manager Ashton Andrews and CEO Steve Hess (pictured left, credit: WHQR/GG) talk with Gina Gambony of WHQR as Elderhaus celebrates their 10th anniversary with an Open House on 4/28.

"The key with PACE is, we are a health plan that is funded both through Medicare, Medicaid and potentially private funds, paid privately and all-inclusive is everything that you can think of that an individual may need medically. But also it covers a lot of the social aspect of life, you know, the whole movement within healthcare today is moving toward a preventative, proactive approach to healthcare. And PACE is well ahead of the curve. You know, you hear a lot about accountable care organizations, ACOs, managed care. The state of North Carolina in 2019 is going to a dually eligible managed care program. PACE has been doing this for years in the country, we've been doing it in North Carolina for 10 years." - Steve Hess

Listen to the entire interview here to learn more about Elderhaus and the PACE model of care.
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Posted November 30, 2017 by MANAGER Manager
"PACE, established in 2008, continues to be a model that is improving the lives of older adults and their families supported by outstanding caregivers, devoted staff at the facilities and the dedication of the interdisciplinary teams. PACE also demonstrates Medicaid’s commitment to improving the health and well-being of North Carolinians as it sets the standard for other states across the country." - recent NC Department of Health and Human Services newsletter feature
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