- upham's elder service plan
- Dorchester | Roxbury | Jamaica Plain
These are all PACE/UESP Participants at the Upham’s Elder Service Plan.
Whether they were born in Boston, grew up in the South, married young, never married, traveled abroad, stayed local, or came from another country, the fact remains: They all love the PACE program. The following people were kind enough to share their stories.
When a stroke left Bettie temporarily unable to speak, the enduring support of her family and friends enabled her to emerge from that dark time with her glowing self confidence and optimism intact. “If you’ve got all those people caring for you, you must be worth something,” she said. “I’m lucky to be alive and well. I’m lucky to have my daughter, my friends, my godkids, and my cousins.”
A transplant from Salem, Alabama, Bettie remains a gracious and lively Southern belle at heart. She loves a good story, whether it’s one of the romance novels she regularly devours, a snippet of Boston history, or a memory of the Roxbury neighborhood where she grew up. “My father ran a restaurant on Tremont Street,” she said, noting that it was a popular hangout for African American athletes.
Bettie served her community as a school investigator and a Roxbury Children’s Services representative. Retirement has provided her with the opportunity to discover her creative talents and add beauty to the world. She loves painting and crafts and recently participated in a rolled paper project, an innovative recycling method that turns junk mail, old magazines, and other paper trash into striking works of art.
After being at the Upham’s Elder Service Plan in Dorchester for several years, Bettie extols the benefits of being in the program. “I really value my close relationship with my social worker, Dale,” said Bettie, “and the excellent care my doctor provides.”
Albert calls Johnnie, his beloved wife of 48 years, his beacon and his inspiration. “She’s always taken wonderful care of me,” he said. Now that Johnnie’s health has declined, Albert is happy to serve as her strong right arm. A former hospital employee, Albert considers himself a “people person”.
Whether it’s sharing activities at the PACE day center, dinner with their kids, chatting with neighbors, or worshipping with fellow parishioners at church, Albert’s social interactions help keep him grounded in his community. Johnnie is a more reserved individual. “I try to help bring Johnnie out of her shell,” said Albert, “and encourage her to speak her own
mind.” For both of them, a meaningful life stems from their deep and lasting ties to each other.
Initially hesitant to join the Upham’s Elder Service Program in Roxbury, Albert became a part of PACE because it would allow Him to stay with Johnnie with supportive services at home. For Albert and Johnnie, the most important benefit of PACE Services is that it allows them to live independently together.
The decision about what to do with an aging and frail parent isn’t always an easy one. This decision and its difficulty increases when there may be a culture shock. Such is the case of Jacinta and her mother.
Jacinta came to the United States from Nigeria in the early 1990s. Her mother lived with her and her family, travelling between the Northeast and Nigeria. She returned to Nigeria in early 2004, to help her youngest daughter with her new family. While there, she fell ill, and eventually slipped into a coma. When she was well enough, Jacinta helped her mother come home. “She had never been so frail,” Jacinta recalls. Her mother was half her weight before she left, was not as active or engaged, and not as involved in life. Jacinta was nervous about leaving her mother alone, and didn’t want to think about the prospect of a nursing home. Jacinta knew where she wanted to place her mother so she could stay at home.
“PACE,” she says,” It would let my mom have all of the care she needed during the day while being able to come home in the afternoons. It’s a blessing not to have to worry about her medical care when I’m at work, or when my kids are away. Mama is always looked after.”
Jacinta enjoys having her mother in the program, and knows the feeling is mutual. Even though Jacinta is a nurse, at home, her mother will often not allow her to change her dressing because her PACE nurse is her caregiver. “She really enjoys the activities,” Jacinta explains. On a trip to the Museum of Science in Cambridge, MA, Jacinta’s mother grew excited about a display about Nigeria life. She was excited to see an accurate representation of her homeland,” Jacinta explained. “The curators of that exhibit were delighted to hear from her perspective.” A few days after that trip, they sent a thoughtful note.
“PACE has given me back my mother and our freedom,” she explains.
PACE participants may be fully and personally liable for the costs of unauthorized or out-of-PACE program agreement services, with the exception of emergency medical situations.
At 90 years old, Betty is the first to arrive at UESP. She enjoys her toast and coffee and warmly greets the staff with a smile. Born and raised in Harwich, Massachusetts, Betty is grateful to her father, who was Portuguese, and her mother for the strict upbringing she and her sister had growing up. Betty also raised her own children – four boys and four girls – the same way, and enjoyed a loving marriage of 32 years. She has maintained a close relationship with God throughout her life and continues to liver her life with strong Biblical principles. Betty wholeheartedly believes that everyone should do their best to help rather than hurt each other.
Her favorite bit of wisdom is one passed on from her mother. “If you hear gossip, walk away. From the Old and New Testament, from Leviticus to Mark, gossip is incredibly common and destructive. Do your part to squelch wagging tongues!”
Betty has attended PACE for over five years. At the Center, the physician and nursing staff provide medical oversight of her cardiac health as well as medication management. Betty also receives physical therapy at the Center and supportive services at home, including home meal delivery and homemaking services.
Lloyd is lovingly referred to as “Mr. Lloyd” by all of his friends. A native of Louisiana, he moved to Boston at eleven years of age, and attended school in Roxbury and Boston. While he considers Boston his home, Mr. Lloyd spends much time traveling between Boston and Louisiana. He has many wonderful memories of the music that he learned to love in the 1940’s and 50’s in Louisiana – jazz and blues are his favorites. Mr. Lloyd comments that “Today, kids have sports. In my day, we had musical instruments.”
Towards the end of WWII, Lloyd and his twin brother Floyd volunteered for the United States Army at only 15. Lloyd enjoys sharing his love of jazz and blues and discussing politics with other participants at ESP.
A participant since 1998, Mr. Lloyd sits in the same seat as he did when he first enrolled in the program. His daughters often stop by the day center for short visits. He receives supportive services at home, provided by UESP in Boston.