Life Stories

“Peace of Mind” – that’s what PACE CNY means to me.

My brother and I started noticing our mother’s deterioration last July. The changes at first were subtle - a slight odor, forgetfulness, a lack of interest in the world around her. She was giving up on life, her loneliness and ability to care for herself was causing her to trade in the possibility of a rich, rewarding future. Not knowing where to turn, a social worker suggested that I contact PACE CNY.

PACE gave us more than we could ever imagine was possible. They gave us hope, especially to my mother. They gave her the gift of a life with meaning and dignity, putting structure back into her life and providing her with the tools needed to live on her own. PACE brought in Meals On Wheels, Lifeline, Home Health Aids, and many other support services to make sure that life on her own would again be possible. Shortly after the Lifeline emergency service was in place, it was needed. My mother fell while in the bathroom and was unable to get up. If we hadn’t had this service, I would hate to think how long she could have been on the floor before someone discovered her.

Peace of Mind – that’s what my family has now, knowing that our mother is well cared for and protected. Not only is my mother’s life full and rich, her health has improved dramatically. She has made many new friends through the recreational center and social events provided by PACE, and more importantly, my mother has her life back.

Thank you PACE CNY for giving me peace of mind.

—Kathy M.

PACE CNY program improves quality of his life

I never knew that happiness could come at such a late time in my life. I am 87 years old, I never married and never had children. I joined the PACE program (Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly) in July 2001. I have met such lovely and interesting people there.

The program is a helpful means of getting back to your youth by exercising, having a proper diet and coming to the Day Center for a warm meal, games, and a chance to experience adventures with other people. It’s like a new world.

For some reason, my walking has become my biggest problem. The PACE CNY rehab department has helped me correct my walking, allowing me to get from one place to another. Also, the aides we have come to my home at Malta Manor. They help me with housework, cooking and personal care if I need help.

One day not long after I joined the program was my special day. I was walking from my exercise and a lovely young girl came up to me and said, “You’re doing fine, keep it up.” She was an employee of the PACE program named Lisa Carr. Lisa is a quality assurance nurse and has given me strength to carry on through difficult days.

In closing, I wish most people of my age who feel they are without the help they need would get into the PACE program. They would feel secure and safe, and would get the medical attention they need. I used to feel like I was all alone without any help. Now I know that I am well taken care of.

—Jim V.

Letter to PACE CNY

Last January I joined PACE CNY and the staff there has become a second family to me. My home has been on Horseshoe Island for more than fifty years and I never want to leave my house. I love the scenic beauty and the birds that flock to the feeders in my yard. It is lonely sometimes in the winter if the weather is severe, but my cat, Felicia, keeps me company.

The PACE program has allowed me to live at home and be more independent with limited family support. I depend on the PACE team to schedule medical appointments and provide medications. They also pick me up and take me to the day center for ongoing therapy and visits with the doctor. One day a week an aide comes to my house to help with personal care and housekeeping.

I have suffered with back problems and painful arthritis for many years. I receive massages and physical therapy twice a week at the PACE center. The therapist works with me to improve my balance and strength. A few months ago I lost my footing and fell on the kitchen floor. I was able to summon help because of the Lifeline button I wear on my wrist. It’s an important benefit of the program and it saved my life that day.

I look forward the most to having a shower and hair shampoo each week at the PACE center. I am unable to get into the bathtub at home due to limited mobility. PACE has whirlpool tubs and walk-in showers that make it easier for seniors.

I’ve met many new people at PACE CNY. I enjoy socializing with my new friends, and I participate in many of the activities there. The program has improved my quality of life – many hugs to the PACE staff!

—Alice W.

Letter to PACE CNY

I was fortunate to enroll in the PACE program a year ago along with my older sister, Joy. At that time we shared a two bedroom apartment on the river and were dependent on family members for assistance with transportation, medications and shopping.

Six months ago I moved to Malta House, an independent senior apartment located next to the PACE site in North Syracuse. Each week aides from the program visit me to assist with bathing, housework and laundry. I also have Meals on Wheels because it’s difficult to manage in the kitchen, and I don’t like to cook. PACE CNY has helped me remain in my apartment with help.

I have made many new friends at PACE CNY. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays I spend part of the day at the PACE center. I am served a hot meal at noon and enjoy playing bingo and listening to live music. Sometimes the PACE staff members take us out to lunch at area restaurants. These outings are always fun.

I have suffered with debilitating, chronic back pain since childhood. For the last two years it was difficult to get around even with a walker. I sat most of the day in a chair in pain. The massages and physical therapy I receive during the week at PACE CNY have helped me physically feel better. I still have pain, but it is more tolerable. I am stronger and get around more easily. In August I attended my granddaughter’s wedding. I used a cane to steady myself instead of the rolling walker – I was so proud!

The best thing about PACE CNY is having peace of mind that all medical appointments are made by the staff. Medications are provided weekly in a pre-filled box. This means I don’t have to bother my son and his family to transport me to appointments and pick up prescriptions at the local pharmacy. I look forward to seeing my family at church every week. We can spend more quality time together now because my medical care is coordinated by the PACE team.

The last year has been filled with both happiness and sorrow. In June my sister, Joy, who had lived down the hall from me at Malta House, passed away suddenly. I miss her every day, but the wonderful staff at PACE CNY and the new friends I have made help me to go on. On a scale of one to ten the PACE program has changed my life for the better to an eight. I am blessed to have the added support of the folks at PACE CNY and be on my own at age 82!

—Gwen S.

It’s a wonderful life in PACE CNY program

During this past holiday season we had the sad news that my mother at the age of 90 was terminally ill. She lived in her own apartment with the help of the PACE program. For those who don’t know about this program, it helps the frail elderly stay in their own home.

My mother was in the program for four-plus years. Because of the program, my mother – who wanted her independence – and I – who needed assurance she would be safe – found a happy medium. She went to their day center and made her own friends, and my mind was at ease about her care and safety.

With the years going by, she needed more help and PACE provided it. She became seriously ill this December and had to go to the hospital. Days later, my mother just wanted to go home and be at peace. With the help of PACE, she was able to do this. She passed away peacefully in her own home, just as she wanted.

The PACE CNY people became our second family. I have so many people to thank. These are just a few of the many who touched my family and mother’s heart. At the Clinic, I’d like to thank Lorraine, Judy, Lynn, Dr. Patel, Dr. Ristoff and the many who put up with my questions on her health. Rae pleasantly connected me with the right person on the phone. Thanks to the nursing staff, including all the on-call nurses, and her health-care nurse Cathy Darling. Liliana Kernan gave me support for any decisions I needed to make. Paul Heins and staff helped make my mother comfortable at home, providing my mother with any equipment she needed.

And thanks to all the aides, especially Lisa Emert, who was like an angel. She always seemed to appear when I needed an answer. Also thanks to Sangia (Sandy) Derby, Denean Bird, Sarina Natalizio, Ebony Williams, Diana Meier, Cindy Vogt – the list could go on. If I didn’t mention your name I am sorry, but please let me assure you that each of you was an angel to my family and mother.

If anyone is at the end of your rope as I was, trying to handle a family, a job, taking care of an elderly loved one and you don’t know where to turn, call the PACE program and see if they can help. I did, and found peace and balance in my life. Thank you PACE CNY. With your help, I’m able to say right to the end my mother had a wonderful life.

—Annmarie B.