Grant from Jackson Community Foundation Makes an Impact on Thome PACE Participants

Thome PACE, United Methodist Retirement Communities’ latest Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly, opened its doors on March 1, 2016. A grant of $5,000 from the Jackson Community Foundation, in support of the center’s Recreational Therapy program, is already having a positive impact on local seniors.

One of these is Jackson native, Barbara Bertram. Widowed at the age of 40, Barbara raised six children, while also providing care for her mother who lived to 104. Barbara lives alone now in a low-income senior apartment and no longer drives.  She says she felt isolated and didn’t like having to rely on others to get her medications or take her to doctor appointments.

Last fall, Barbara learned about PACE when an illness sent her to the emergency room, her first ever visit to an ER. A social worker there suggested she might be a good candidate for PACE.  Three months later, Barbara called to learn more.

Barbara and the other Thome PACE participants receive all their medical care at the Day Health Center, located at 2282 Springport Road, along with therapy, specialties such as podiatry, all medications, meals, and much more. Door-to-door transportation is provided for each participant from their home to the center.  Thome PACE also gives participants the chance to socialize through recreational therapy activities.

The Jackson Community Foundation grant has provided the Thome PACE Recreational Therapy program with a variety of items, including games, large print books, a piano for musical activities, tablet computers, art supplies, aroma therapy, and more. Thome PACE Recreational Therapist Tori Belcher says these activities are important in helping participants with memory and cognition, fine motor skills, gaining physical strength, and improving mental health.  “Many participants feel isolated in their homes,” adds Tori.  “Recreational therapy gives them the chance to socialize, learn, and build on their skills so they can be as independent as possible in their own homes.”

Barbara says, “I am so grateful for this program. It has been a Godsend – to me and my family.”