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HEALTHBEAT 4: Siouxland PACE helps positively impact quality of life

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SIOUX CITY (KTIV) - Living independently and healthy. It's something many of us take for granted. But, one program in conjunction with UnityPoint Health-St. Luke's is looking to help the elderly do just that.

"We provide a full range of health and human services with the goal of having people stay in their own homes for as long as possible," Siouxland Pace Director Randy Ehlers said.

For 11 years, Siouxland PACE has been providing all-inclusive care for people 55 and older who live in Woodbury, Monona, Cherokee, and Plymouth counties.

"We get a lot of stories about, PACE changed my life," Ehlers said. "I was really declining. My health was going downhill and PACE, with the all-around, wrap-around services, really improved my health."

Those "wrap around" services include everything from physical and occupational therapy, nursing care, social work, and dietitian services, to the PACE center itself, where people can hang out for the day.

"We have about 60 people that will come every day and hang out with us," Ehlers said.

Ehlers said while it may seem simple, that socialization is vital to their overall health.

"Isolation is a real factor for mental health with people that age," Ehlers said. "If you have lost some of your independence, some of your ability to travel and move on your own, or your health has deteriorated, the fact that you have a place to go and have friends and relationships and contact with the outside world is really important to your overall health."

But, it doesn't stop there. PACE also offers medical transportation services to people in the program.

"So we are picking them up from home, bringing them to the PACE center, but then we are also bringing them to all of their outside appointments," Ehlers said. "Wherever they might need to go for medical services."

Ehlers said it all comes down to a quality of life issue.

"People want to stay living in their own home and we help and support the caregivers in that mission," Ehlers said.

If you would like to see if you, or a loved one, are eligible for the program, you can call Siouxland PACE at 712-224-7223.

An enrollment coordinator will help you navigate the questions you may have.

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Michaela Feldmann

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