PCA empowers older adults to age in place with compassionate support

Bill Conallen

As communities across the country experience a significant demographic shift toward an aging population, the importance of long-term services and supports (LTSS) for older adults becomes increasingly paramount. LTSS encompasses a range of services aimed at ensuring the well-being and quality of life for adults who are older or living with disabilities who may require assistance with daily activities.

Philadelphia Corporation for Aging (PCA) recognizes the importance of addressing these needs and has developed a range of programs to help older adults maintain their independence, improve their overall well-being, and access the resources they need to age in place.

LTSS plays a crucial role in preserving dignity and quality of life for older adults. With advancing age, individuals may encounter physical and cognitive challenges that impede their ability to carry out essential activities. Services, such as assistance with personal hygiene, mobility and medication management, help facilitate a person’s autonomy.

To initiate many of these critical supports, PCA starts with conducing a thorough in-home assessment of an older adult’s physical, mental, social and functional abilities and needs, using evidence-based assessment tools approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Aging to quantify the level of care and needs in the home.

The outcome of the assessment includes enrollment into the most appropriate care program. One example includes the OPTIONS program, which provides older adults with essential services in the comfort of their own homes. One example of these essential services includes providing a trained personal care aide to offer daily services, including meal preparation, personal care and light housekeeping. Additionally, the OPTIONS program offers respite care for family caregivers, allowing them to take a break and recharge while their loved ones receive the care they need — adult day services for individuals who require a safe and structured environment during the day; personal emergency response buttons; home-delivered meals; medical equipment and supplies; and home modifications, such as shower grab bars.

OPTIONS participants must be at least 60 years of age and a legal Pennsylvania resident. Additionally, the individual must experience some degree of impairment that impacts daily functioning.

“Home care is any service that is provided in a person’s home, away from a facility, to support independent living,” said Shani Gilmore, PCA’s executive administrator of long-term care. “Home care can include assistance tasks, such as bathing, dressing and grooming, which are what we call ‘activities of daily living.’ Providing home care can enable older adults to stay in their homes for as long as possible, to age in place, rather than having to seek another less independent living situation, such as a nursing home.”

The Domiciliary Care Program (Dom Care) matches certified home providers with those in need of a caring, supportive home. Dom Care residents are unable to live independently, due to physical, emotional or mental impairments, but do not need special around-the-clock attention. Providers are people in the community who want to open their homes to provide care for up to two people.

Care managers match individuals and home providers according to their preferences and work closely with them to ensure that the match remains mutually beneficial. In the process, residents receive room and board, as well as help with medication supervision, laundry and medical appointments.

Another initiative that offers community living options through long-term care is the Shared Housing and Resource Exchange (SHARE) Program, administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Aging. SHARE aims to address the housing needs of older adults in the state by providing a platform for older adults who have available living space in their homes to connect with individuals seeking affordable housing options.

PCA also launched a recent collaboration with the online home-sharing platform, Silvernest, named Housemates of Philadelphia County. This home-sharing subscription service allows homeowners and home
seekers to digitally connect based on their profiles and preferences. For information, go to pcaCares.org/housemates-of-philadelphia-county.

Recognizing that some older adults may require a higher level of care, PCA is proud to offer a comprehensive Caregiver Support Program designed to assist, guide and support people caring for older adults. Acknowledging the crucial role of caregivers, PCA’s program offers a range of resources, including respite care, counseling and training sessions, to ensure that caregivers have the necessary support to provide optimal care while prioritizing their own well-being. By bolstering the caregiver support network, PCA aims to alleviate stress and enhance the caregiving experience, benefiting the older adults they assist.

“I firmly believe that long-term care services play a vital role in the lives of our older adults, enabling them to age with dignity, independence and the support they deserve,” Gilmore said. “At PCA, we understand the unique needs of older adults and the challenges they may face. Our long-term care programs are designed to provide comprehensive assistance, advocating for their rights, empowering families and ensuring that older adults have access to the resources they need to thrive. We are committed to making a positive difference in the lives of our community’s elders and promoting a society that values and supports those who have contributed so much.”


For more information about long-term care services for older adults, call the PCA Helpline at 215-765-9040 or go to pcaCares.org/services/help-in-the-home.

Categories: Elder Care Milestones eNews News about PCA

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