At Home Care for the Elderly

To the Editor, New York Times:

Re “Rethinking Nursing Home Care, Even With Vaccines” (news article, May 9):

Families don’t have to decide between caring for aging parents at home with help from hired aides or sending them to live in nursing homes.

Since the 1970s, Medicaid has paid for people 55 and over to receive nursing home-level care outside of nursing homes through a care model known as Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly, or PACE. PACE is widely recognized as the gold standard of care for keeping nursing home-eligible seniors healthy and safe in their own homes, while offering comprehensive medical care, social activities, meals and other support at PACE centers, almost always at far lower cost than institutional care.

Inexplicably, however, PACE has never received the support and promotion it deserves from the federal and state agencies that administer Medicaid. As a result, many families remain unaware that such an alternative is even available.

It’s time for policymakers to establish clear plans for reducing the number of seniors who are living in nursing homes unnecessarily and would be better and more safely cared for in their own homes.