Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, or PACEs, are an important part of caregiving in the United States. While many adults want to age in place at home or with loved ones, during this time of generational aging--when baby boomers are beginning to become truly "elderly"--facilities which can provide stellar care they cannot receive at home are an important part of the future. The National PACE Association (NPA) aims to make sure that good ideas spread quickly and solutions to problems can be found, making care for the elderly a healthier, safer, better process across the nation.

The NPA was founded in 1994 for the purpose of supporting those who are choosing to enter the field of all-inclusive care facilities and programs for the elderly. Its roots, however, go back to a 1970s San Francisco effort to provide care for aging immigrant parents, who were considered a social asset to their communities and were valued highly by their friends and neighbors. In addition to offering resources and communication opportunities, the NPA works at the federal level to influence government policy in favor of caregivers who seek to provide better care, as well as provide a secure economic environment for providers. Conferences several times a year, data collection and analysis, and investment in research also make NPA a worthwhile asset to those who are seeking to begin a venture into elderly care or to improve their existing model.

Yet the NPA is also promoting a very specific type of caregiving, one that can change the lives of caregivers and the elderly.

NPA targets mostly businesspeople and healthcare providers, which may make them seem remote to family caregivers or to the average professional caregiver, both of whom do the actual work of caregiving each day. Yet the NPA is also promoting a very specific type of caregiving, one that can change the lives of caregivers and the elderly. At their resource website, PACE4you.org, the NPA details what all-inclusive programs really are; they are a coordinated team of doctors and experts that work to create a caregiving plan and provide comprehensive care for an aging loved one. Payment for services is the same month-to-month, and many of these services can be covered by Medicare or Medicaid. Through the NPA, seniors can get doctor's visits, personal care, medications, and transportation, according to the website, all while aging in place rather than in a facility. The NPA simply wants to make sure that money and research are flowing into this venture in order to maintain these programs, which can provide huge help to the elderly and their caregivers.

All-inclusive care for the elderly sounds wonderful, and it is. Staying at home while still getting excellent care is the best of both worlds in the caregiving story, since aging in place is linked to more happiness and longer lifespans of higher quality as is better medical care. The NPA believes that care is best done in the community in which an elderly person lives, and, to that end, the organization wants to make sure that all care needs are met by experts in order to keep elderly people in their homes for as long as possible.

However, if a loved one does need to live in a facility such as a nursing home, help is still available from a PACE organization. Some seven percent of PACE participants, according to NPAonline, live in a nursing home while receiving care from a PACE. While supporting as much independence as possible, PACE and the NPA understand that some patients need the care offered in a facility.

As of 2015, 116 PACE programs are available in 32 states, and this number increases each year as the NPA continues its advocacy and support. Finding a program near you in an urban area is somewhat simpler than in remote, rural areas, but is still possible, since the NPA has specifically advocated for PACE programs in rural areas, even receiving federal funds in order to support them.

PACE organizations often have adult day centers as well, which can provide the typical and even infrequent healthcare required by many elderly people. This means that an elderly person has a safe place to go during the day in the event that a caregiver cannot monitor the person or provide transportation to every appointment or engagement. This is especially good for family caregivers who have children or other jobs which require several hours of each day away from their aging loved one.

To learn more about the NPA and PACE organizations in general, visit their websites cited below.

Sources

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). PACE Fact Sheet. Available at https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Health-Plans/pace/downloads/pacefactsheet.pdf. Retrieved May 30, 2016.

NPAonline.org. About NPA. Available at http://www.npaonline.org/about-npa. Retrieved May 30, 2016.

NPAonline.org. Is PACE for you? Available at http://www.npaonline.org/pace-you. Retrieved May 30, 2016.

NPAonline.org. Membership in NPA. Available at http://www.npaonline.org/about-npa/membership-npa. Retrieved May 30, 2016.

PACE4you.org. Visit us for the care you need, Stay in the home you love. Available at www.pace4you.org. Retrieved May 30, 2016.

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