New Cville Senior Center Offers Nursing Home Alternative - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

New Cville Senior Center Offers Nursing Home Alternative

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Blue Ridge Program for All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly Blue Ridge Program for All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly

A new senior center in Charlottesville is looking for people to sign up.

The Blue Ridge Program for All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, or PACE, is enrolling people now. After years of planning, the building is open, the staff is in place, and they're now waiting for their first participants.

Once open the center will provide a wide range of services to seniors who want to “age in place”.

"We're the solution to the great challenges that many caregivers face because we're able to provide care to the frail elderly, we have the resources and the flexibility to really care for the frail elderly," said Betty Sharp, the outreach manager for Blue Ridge PACE.

PACE is a joint venture of the Riverside Health System, the University of Virginia Health System, and the Jefferson Area Board for Aging or JABA. It's an alternative to nursing home care. People still live at home, but can go to the facility for everything from primary care doctor visits, to meals, showers, prescription refills, and exercise classes and activities.

"We have everything in one roof," Sharp said. "We have a healthcare center, therapy, day center, full kitchen, courtyard with raised beds for gardening."

The center, located in Charlottesville at 1335 Carlton Avenue, will be opened Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and people can go throughout the week. The amount of time a senior would spend at PACE will be determined by the care team, and by the family and individual's need. PACE would provide care at the facility, home care, and transportation.

"Not everything takes place here in the center. We're designed for the individuals who are facing the need to move into a nursing home, so we provide care here at our center and out in the community," said Sharp.

She said giving up a primary doctor may sound scary to some, but people would still be able to keep their specialists in the community, and there are highly-trained physicians on staff, as well as professionals in various other fields.

"Everything is coordinated here through our clinic," Sharp said. And having that coordinated care, she said, can keep seniors more healthy.

"It takes the burden off the caregiver. Everything is here, everything is managed through us for the family, for the caregiver, and then the individual can receive quality care through our team approach here," she said. "It is a team approach.”

PACE can be paid for by Medicaid and Medicare, or through a set monthly price that the staff says is less than most other nursing home fees.

For more on the Blue Ridge PACE call 434-529-1300. You can call for more information, to schedule a tour, or to enroll. Sharp said the capacity is 150 individuals, but they can enroll more than that because not everyone will be at the facility every day.

The facility officially opens to participants March 1.

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