Nursing home alternative PACE lets seniors stay in their homes

"I had a stroke. I couldn't talk, I couldn't walk, I couldn't do anything," said Debra Lewis.

She could have ended up in a nursing home after the stroke but instead she's at PACE. Five locations help more than 1,200 seniors who are no longer able to be completely independent because of health or age. 

PACE has over 100 buses that allow seniors to live at their home but then be picked up and brought to one of the centers in southeast Michigan where they're greeted by care takers who help with prescriptions and medical attention.

And yes, a spiritual and mental health need is filled quicker than you can fill a prescription. 

"The Bible says we should honor our mother and our father. So, seeing them, they are my family," said Nike Adewale. 

"I think it's the most wonderful place that I've ever been in my life," said a woman who is 103.

She's 103 years old and is thrilled she's not in a nursing home and instead here with friends.  It's care for the whole day. Then they go home where they sleep.

PACE has been around since 1994 in our area with centers in Southfield, Dearborn, Detroit, Sterling Heights and Eastpointe. It is soon to be opening in Pontiac at end of this year. 

 You have to be eligible for Medicare and Medicaid to qualify.  

"Our goal is to keep chronically ill seniors independent in their homes, hopefully until the end of their lives," said Mary Naber.

Naber is the CEO and for her it's a labor of love.  She knows this place is the best kept secret in town for elder care.  

"They will have a continental breakfast, they will have lunch, they will do activities, they will go to the rehab gym and get full rehab services - physical therapy, occupational therapy if that is what they choose," Naber said. "They may be seen in the clinic for an appointment, a dentist, an eye appointment - whatever it is, that day."

The caretakers here, to the bus drivers they're all trained to make sure that if someone's having a bad day, they get the medical care they need.  It's a holistic approach to elder care and it's working well. 

"With PACE they've allowed me to stay independent and stay in my home," Lewis said.

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