Seniors Can Stay Home Longer – What is the PACE Program?

The Program for All inclusive Care for the Elderly helps seniors to maintain an individual’s independence in the community for as long as possible.  Individuals who are involved with this program must be over 55 years of age and also must qualify for admission to a nursing home based on an objective scoring system.  The program is funded by a combination of Medicare, Medicaid and private payment. Services are delivered at a cost that is substantially less than nursing home placement as those enrolled live in their own house or apartment.

Participants are transported to the health center 2 or 3 times per week and this is staffed by an interdisciplinary team that includes doctors, therapists, social workers and others. The team huddles daily to discuss the needs of the individuals who are in attendance.  Karen Shalke, Regional Representative for the Erie County’s  PACE program, called Catholic Health LIFE – Living Independently for Elders  points out that this “coordinated effort takes all of the fragmented senior care services and pulls them together into one cohesive delivery package.” Jeff Paterson, interim CEO of Health Association of Niagara County – which is hoping to launch Complete Senior Care in 2011 gives the example  that “if the van driver notices that someone is limping slightly, the physical therapist can be notified immediately.” The emphasis is on prevention as a significantly lower cost alternative to costly and debilitating hospitalizations.

The day center also offers participants an opportunity to enjoy recreational and social activities while receiving personal care and supervision during the day. Rehabilitation therapies, nursing help, bathing assistance, advice for re-certification for Medicaid, food stamps, living wills, health care proxy and other social service work is available along with nutritional and spiritual care. Seniors enrolled in the program have the assurance that their ongoing health and emotional needs will be addressed. “As their needs evolve, the services evolve with them,” says Paterson.

Membership is voluntary and can be ended at any time.

This concept traces its roots to the San Francisco area when in the 1970s a group of civic leaders created a community based system of care for families whose elders had immigrated from Europe and the Far East. By 2009, some 72 PACE programs were operational in 30 states.

PACE programs in Western New York are located on the campus of the OLV Senior Neighborhood in Lackawanna along with another in Olean. Complete Senior Care in Niagara County hopes to open next year, pending state and federal approvals.

There is a rapidly expanding need for person centered, cost effective services such as these that will allow people to remain independent in their homes for as long as possible, yet it takes so long to establish a PACE program. Each of these entities mentioned in this article spent 7 years getting necessary approvals from different government agencies. The needs of the baby boom generation will strain current systems to their breaking point quite soon and it is imperative that political leaders look at coordinated service delivery models such as these and streamline the processes involved with establishing them.

What is a short sale and if I want to buy one, what should I be concerned about?

A short sale is an alternative to foreclosure for the property owner who cannot continue to make payments and is unable to sell through an ordinary sale method because the current market value is less than what will be owed by this seller at closing of the property.  Not all banks will cooperate with short sales even though it is frequently in the best interest of both parties to terminate the relationship in this manner.

Banks that will consider short sales will not entertain the possibility for a specific property until there is an actual, preapproved, non-contingent buyer who has signed a purchase offer for the property subject to approval of the short sale by the bank. The short sale approval process always involves an appraisal of the property to determine current value.  In many cases, it makes more sense for the bank to take less than what is owed because they can then avoid a costly foreclosure proceeding that will include attorney fees, current and back taxes, water and sewer bills and as well as the certain debilitation of the property resulting in an even lower value for the bank on resale.

Short sales can be a good buying opportunity as long as you keep a couple of things in mind. First, it is imperative that you put a time limit in your purchase offer. It needs to clearly state that your offer is subject to approval of the short sale NO LATER THAN and then insert a date. A month is a reasonable time period. If you don’t put a cut it off date like this, you are potentially on the hook for the property indefinitely. One thing I’ve learned in the school of the hard knocks is that institutions tend towards taking as much time as you give them so if it’s indefinite, there is no urgency. The short sale department will deal with the transactions that have deadlines first.

The second thing I would encourage you to do if you are trying to be buy a property through a short sale process is to be very stingy about your deposit amount.  In the financial jungle, whoever holds the money wins.  The seller or the seller’s realtor or attorney is governed by specific escrow laws, however, once your money is tied up, it’s tied up and strange things can happen with deals that are out of the main stream such as this. Bottom line you don’t want to chunk down a few thousand for a “what if” deal such as this. Do your best to get away with only risking a couple hundred dollars as your earnest money.

Lastly, you will need to get your home inspection up front in most cases.  Banks usually will not entertain an offer that is subjective to a home inspection. You will be risking the fee to the inspector in this case without knowing if you will really get the house or not, but it is absolute must to have the property looked at by a professional.

For more information about these types of deals, you can contact me at [email protected]

GREAT WALLS

No matter how big or small, all homes have one thing in common: wall space.  But many homeowners get stumped by what to do with it.  Walls are a blank canvas for creating an inviting space and showing off personality, and although homeowners’ tastes vary widely, there are a few general ideas and guidelines to consider when deciding how to make the best use of your walls.

 Sconces are a great way to add light and style to a room.  They should be placed about six feet above the floor, and if there are two or more, be sure to place them evenly to provide balanced sources of lighting.  If the sconce is merely an accent to an already decorated wall, choose a simple design and a smaller sconce, rather than upstaging what’s already there. 

If art is your wall decoration of choice, it’s important to decide on a style before choosing the paintings or photos.  More traditional decorators might go for landscapes or gardens, while those with contemporary taste might learn toward bold, bright colors.  A little quirky?  Think about framing old records or vintage movie posters instead of ready-made pieces.  Be sure the size of the framed pieces complements the furniture in the room – wall art shouldn’t compete. A room with minimal furniture can have large art, but if the room already has big, ornate pieces of furniture, keep the art minimal.  

Play with groupings of framed pieces.  Experts suggest combining odd numbers such as three or five in a row or a square block of nine small prints.  Be sure the pieces are similar in color and theme, and take time to choose a neutral colored frame.