Regina Smith has dedicated her career to keeping seniors out of nursing homes. A geriatric social worker at an adult day care network in Indianapolis, she strives to provide services that can help people live independently.
But Ms. Smith’s expertise didn’t keep her own mother from a nursing home — or prevent the worst from happening when the pandemic struck last year.
Ms. Smith’s 75-year-old mother, Katherine, suffering from dementia and other serious conditions, moved to a home in town in 2019. Last April, she contracted Covid-19 and died just a few days later. “The very thing I fight for for others I was not able to do for my mom,” Ms. Smith said.
That trauma has made Ms. Smith much more skeptical about institutional care settings, and inspired her to work even harder to find solutions that keep clients at home.
One program that could expand is PACE, or Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly. PACE, funded by Medicare and Medicaid, provides medical and social services so frail seniors who would qualify to be in a skilled nursing facility can continue to live independently. Most are low income and eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid.
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