During National PACE Month in September, Pace@Home shares a few stories of people who are receiving the care and services they need to live as independently as possible. Instead of entering nursing homes during their golden years, they receive assistance at home or at the Pace@Home Day Center , where they socialize and enjoy fun activities to help them stay active. Here are a few of their stories:
Sisters Pat Eckard and Georgia Stilwell Find Community at PACE@Home
When Pat Eckard realized she needed some extra support to manage her medical condition, she signed up for PACE@Home, a local organization that helps individuals who have serious illnesses or disabilities remain independent for as long as they can.
Pat has enjoyed spending time with her friends at the organization’s Day Center for nearly 10 years, so when her younger sister, Georgia Stilwell, decided she needed a little extra help, she signed on, too.
“Pat’s been taking care of me since I was a baby,” says Georgia. “When she thought I may need extra help with my medical needs, she suggested that I join her at PACE@Home, so I did and I’ve loved it.”
Both Pat and Georgia grew up in the Longview community in Hickory, N.C. Georgia worked her way up to manager at JP Stevens making stockings, while Pat worked as a custodian for local nonprofits, including Lutheran Home and Highland Baptist Church, to help support her four children.
They both love coming to the Day Center, chatting with friends and participating in fun activities like Bingo and arts and crafts. “It’s fun making new friends and talking about the good old days,” says Pat. “Pace@Home is a wonderful place to be. It’s great making new memories here.”
Polly Connor Gets Active and Stays Social with PACE@Home
Frances “Polly” Connor’s journey began when she was just a girl and moved from North Carolina to Maryland. After she graduated from high school, she took her first job at Johns Hopkins Hospital as an elevator operator, getting patients where they needed to go for healthcare. But her passion has always been caring for children.
Over many decades of service as a foster parent and house manager for families, she built meaningful relationships with many children who now live all over the country. Many of them still call her every year to wish her Happy Mother’s Day.
As Polly grew older, she returned to her hometown of Newton, N.C., where she realized she needed some extra support to stay active, both physically and socially. She decided to sign up for PACE@Home, a local organization that helps individuals remain independent for as long as they can.
There's always something new at PACE@Home. Every day, a team of certified recreational therapists comes up with fun ways to keep their participants healthy and happy — from playing games like Bingo or Connect, to staying active with drumming or chair Zumba.
Polly has enjoyed participating in the PACE program for more than three years. When asked about her favorite part, she had an immediate answer: "I love the people and all the activities — especially painting and Zumba!"
Michelle Horne is Empowered to Live Independently
Michelle Horne's love for her community and her hands-on work ethic shines through in everything she does. She moved from Allentown, PA, to Charlotte, N.C., when she was just a child so her dad could attend Fruitland Baptist Bible College. Years later, she found herself a new place to call home in Newton, N.C., where she sewed thread at Hickory Dyeing and Winding, a local textile plant, and worked as a housekeeper at Abernethy Laurels, a local retirement community.
As Michelle got older and began to slow down, she reached out to PACE@Home for some extra support with her healthcare needs, and she has loved being part of the program. She comes to the organization’s Day Center twice a week and also receives services at her home when she needs them — including physical therapy and help with light housekeeping. “PACE has truly been a blessing,” says Michelle. “They helped me with my teeth and my hearing aids, and everything else that I’ve needed to stay healthy.”
Some of her favorite activities at PACE include playing Bingo, doing Zumba and hearing musical performances from local musicians like country singer, Shellem Cline. “I look forward to all the activities,” says Michelle. “I also love the security of knowing the PACE team is here for me in case any problems arise. It helps give me the confidence to stay in my home and live as independently as possible.”