Alzheimer’s series co-hosted by PACE

Alzheimers-Series-CoHosted-by-PacePiedmont Health SeniorCare, in collaboration with the Alzheimer’s Association Eastern North Carolina Chapter, will be holding a series of educational events starting this month. The events are free and open to the public and will be held at the Pittsboro site. Contact Karin Wannaker, 919-545-7337 for more information. Join us on the following dates:

Thursday, April 30, 5:30-6:30pm
The Basics: Memory Loss, Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias are not a normal part of aging. This workshop is for anyone who would like to know more about Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

Thursday, May 14, 5:30-6:30pm
Dementia Conversations
This workshop will offer tips on how to have honest and caring conversations with family members about deciding when to stop driving, going to the doctor and making legal and final decisions

Thursday, May 28, 5:30-6:30pm
Effective Communication Strategies
Join us to explore how communication takes place when someone has Alzheimer’s. Learn to decode the verbal and behavioral messages delivered by someone with dementia and identify strategies to help you connect and communicate at each stage of the disease.

Thursday, June 11, 5:30-6:30pm
Understanding and Responding to Dementia-Related Behavior
Behavior is one of the primary ways for people with dementia to communicate their needs and feelings as the ability to use language is lost. However, some behaviors can present challenges for caregivers to manage. Join us to learn to decode behaviors, identify common behavior triggers, and learn strategies to help intervene with some of the most common behavioral challenges of Alzheimer’s disease.



OTs help participants maintain quality of life

Cat-Balentine-and-Susan-MisciagnoApril is National Occupational Therapy month; PACE occupational therapists Cat Balentine and Susan Misciagno go above and beyond to encourage our seniors to be active members in their treatment plans and in their community. For example, each OT leads exercise groups to facilitate healthy lifestyles.

Cat Balentine in Burlington leads a Walk and Roll program each day where participants can either walk or roll around the day center for exercise. Staff members sponsor laps around the center and donate at the end of each month depending on the total laps completed by the participants. Each month the participants donate the proceeds to a chosen nonprofit organization.

Susan Misciagno is the OT at the Pittsboro location and also leads an exercise group for the participants to encourage group participation and social interaction. Occupational therapy uses assessment and treatment to develop, recover or maintain the daily living and work skills of people with a physical, mental or cognitive disorder. OTs also focus much of their work on identifying and eliminating environmental barriers to independence and participation in daily activities.

Occupational therapy is a client-centered practice that places emphasis on progressing toward the client’s goals. Occupational therapy interventions focus on adapting the environment, modifying the task, teaching the skill and educating the client and family to increase participation in and performance of daily activities, particularly those that are meaningful to the client. Occupational therapists often work closely with professionals in physical therapy, speech therapy, nursing, social work and the community. PACE would not be the same without these therapists. They help seniors maintain the highest level of functional ability, as well as maintain optimal safety in the home, helping to reach the overall goal of the PACE program.

March is National Nutrition Month

Rather than focusing on foods to eliminate from your diet, focus on what you can ADD to your plate to enhance flavor and nutrition. Here are some tips for healthier eating not just this month, but year round.

Quick Tips for Success

  • Eat a variety of food from each food group
  • Use the plate method to control portions
  • Have everything in moderation
  • Balance your healthy diet with plenty of physical activity
  • Stay well hydrated


Keep hydrated by sipping on water, milk and some juices throughout the day. Avoid alcohol and caffeinated beverages like coffee and soda.


Instead of drowning your breakfast in sugary syrup, try topping your morning pancakes, French toast or waffles with fresh or canned fruit and yogurt.


Protein doesn’t have to be meat. Try adding these protein sources:

  • Peanut Butter. Make a peanut butter and banana sandwich. Spread on waffles, English muffins, toast or granola bars. Stir into hot oatmeal. Use as a dip with fruit or crackers.
  • Drain and rinse canned beans and put them on top of salads and add to soups and stews.


Canned and frozen veggies are OK when fresh are not available. Just remember to drain and rinse canned veggies. Look for low sodium, microwavable, frozen varieties of vegetables like Bird’s Eye.

Whole Grains

Try whole wheat bread instead of white for sandwiches and toast. Oatmeal and popcorn are also whole grains that everyone enjoys.


Have Greek yogurt or cottage as an easy-to-prepare snack. Top it with nuts, fruit and granola for a delicious parfait,

Advance directives: Make wishes known


What does “quality of life mean to you”? The medical care you choose to receive during a crisis is a personal choice that will be honored by PACE SeniorCare.

The North Carolina Division of Aging and Adult Services defines advance health-care planning as “deciding the kind of care you want at the end of life. While alert competent adults are able to exercise their rights to make health care and financial decisions, problems arise when an individual becomes unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to communicate or make such decisions. Advance health care directives are the legal documents in which you give written instructions about your choices limited, aggressive or palliative care if, in the future, you cannot speak for yourself.”

It is our policy to discuss with you and your family, before you get too sick, what kinds of care you want provided. There are two documents PHSC would like to encourage participants to complete within three months of enrollment in the program. Below are different ways you can declare your wishes.

The MOST and HCPOA forms allow you to convey and document how you want medical decisions to be made in case you cannot speak for yourself.

  • Who you want to make health care decisions for you when you can’t make them.
  • The kind of medical treatment you want or don’t want.
  • What you want your loved ones to know.

Medical Orders For Scope of Treatment (MOST)

The MOST form is a document that discusses more then the resuscitation status. It also covers feeding tubes, antibiotics and comfort measures. This is obtained and signed by your provider, signed by the participant or caregiver and renewed yearly.

Health Care Power of Attorney (HCPOA)

 You may ask someone else to decide your care for you. This is called “health care power of attorney.” The HCPOA request must be in writing. Physicians and family members cannot predict what you will want. It is a good idea to put these wishes in writing and designate a power of attorney to promote them.

Please see your provider, social worker or any SeniorCare staff with questions.








Look for Health Outcomes Survey in early April

checklistBy the end of this month, PACE participants should receive a pre-notification mailing about the annual Health Outcomes Survey. The first questionnaire mailings will be sent out to PACE participants the week of April 6.

The Health Outcomes Survey-Modified (HOS-M) is a survey that measures the health status of individuals participating in programs such as PACE. The Center for Medicaid & Medicare Services has implemented a Medicare payment approach for organizations like PACE. The payment method takes the frailty of the enrollees into account. The health status information collected via the survey will support this payment approach, so it’s important that the surveys are completed.

A family member or caregiver may assist the PACE beneficiary at anytime, if they wish. A PACE employee may also assist with the survey if asked by the participant or a family member or caregiver, but staff are not required to assist participants with the survey.

Please know there will be a DataStat 1-800 number printed on the survey to call for specific questions.


Social workers critical to achieving PACE goals

This month, Piedmont Health SeniorCare spotlights its team of social workers to mark National Professional Social Work Month. PACE social workers provide ongoing assistance to improve the lives of seniors and their families. They help people manage their daily lives, cope with issues and navigate relationships. They also help address socio-economic challenges such as poverty and access to resources.

Pittsboro site marks one year of service

Pittsboro staff celebrates with PACE participants Stella Chester (in red) and Billy Herndon, center. Also present were Executive Director Marianne Ratcliffe and Site Director Jeff Sumpter.

Pittsboro staff celebrates with PACE participants Stella Chester (in red) and Billy Herndon, center. Also present were Executive Director Marianne Ratcliffe and Site Director Jeff Sumpter.

Today, the Pittsboro facility boasts more than 40 PACE participants, four times more than a year ago, when the site opened its doors for the first time. Last month, the site celebrated the one-year anniversary of providing a unique place for seniors to find daytime medical, social and health services at a low-cost. The second program of its kind for Piedmont Health SeniorCare, Pittsboro PACE (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) hopes to ultimately reach its maximum participant level of 150.

The staff of 20 employees forms an interdisciplinary team responsible for coordinating each participant’s care daily.  The care team includes physicians, social workers, nurses, certified nursing assistants, rehabilitative therapists such as occupational and physical therapists, recreational therapists, a nutritionist, a pharmacist, a home-care coordinator and transportation personnel.

Stella Chester, a PACE participant, told the Chatham News & Record, “With Piedmont, my life has improved so much,” she said. “I thank God for this place. It is just like a family. If anyone knows anyone who is at home and needs a place, tell them about PACE.”

Piedmont Health Services is celebrating its 45th year of service this year. Site Director Jeff Sumpter said they were thrilled to be in Pittsboro. “It is great to see how people do well and their quality of life improves,” he said. “It is rewarding to work within such an innovative model of care that is so effective.”

Silver Saints Deliver

The Silver Saints recently delivered handmade flower arrangements, door hangers and lap blankets to nursing home residents.

The Saints are a group of participants that use their talents to give back to the community.  The group was created to empower participants to pursue volunteer opportunities that they identify and organize themselves in ways that they see fit.

The goal of Silver Saints is to emphasize participants’ strengths and maximize optimal independence and support by doing intrinsically motivating and meaningful activities and goals.

Silver Saints hold flower arrangements they made and then delivered to nursing home residents. The Saints program encourages residents to use their talents to give back to their community.

Silver Saints hold flower arrangements they made and then delivered to nursing home residents. The Saints program encourages residents to use their talents to give back to their community.

To learn more about Silver Saints, contact Sheena Norman,

Keeping your heart healthy


Uncontrolled blood pressure is a leading cause of heart disease and stroke. In fact, more than 67 million Americans have high blood pressure. People with high blood pressure are four times more likely to die from a stroke and three times more likely to die from heart disease, compared to those with normal blood pressure.

Did you know?

African Americans have a higher chance of being diagnosed with high blood pressure, which puts them at higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. About two of every five African Americans have high blood pressure, and fewer than half of them have it under control.

High blood pressure often shows no signs or symptoms, which is why having your blood pressure checked regularly is important. It’s easy to get your blood pressure checked. You can get screened at your doctor’s office and drugstores or even check it yourself at home, using a home blood pressure monitor.

If you know you have high blood pressure, take these steps to help get it under control:

  • Ask your doctor what your blood pressure should be. Set a goal to lower your pressure with your doctor and talk about how you can reach your goal. Work with your health care team to make sure you meet that goal. Track your blood pressure over time.
  • Take your blood pressure medicine as directed. Set a timer on your phone to remember to take your medicine at the same time each day. If you are having trouble taking your medicines on time or paying for your medicines, or if you are having side effects, ask your doctor for help.
  • Quit smoking—and if you don’t smoke, don’t start.

Reduce sodium intake. Most Americans consume too much sodium, which can raise blood pressure. Work with your health care team to make sure you meet your blood pressure goal.

February is American Heart Month

You can reduce your risk and improve your heart health by following the ABCS:
• A – Take Aspirin as directed by your health care provider.
• B – Control your Blood pressure.
• C – Manage your Cholesterol.
• S – Don’t Smoke.

Symptoms of a Heart Attack

The five major symptoms of a heart attack are:
• Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck or back.
• Feeling weak, light-headed or faint.
• Chest pain or discomfort.
• Pain or discomfort in arms or shoulder.
• Shortness of breath.

If you think that you or someone you know is having a heart attack, you should call 9–1–1 immediately.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Care for the caregiver

As a caregiver, you may often find that you are rushing from one thing to another in taking care of your loved one and other family and work responsibilities. But when you do have a moment for your own self-care?

PHSC has started a caregiver’s group at both PACE sites, and we want you to be there. This meeting is free and will include low-impact yoga, stress reduction exercise, quick and healthy recipes and space to talk with other caregivers in the PACE program. As a caregiver of a PACE participant, you have the option to attend ONE of these sessions per month.

In Pittsboro:

  • Starting March 1, every second Wednesday from 3-4:20 pm
  • Starting March 17, every third Tuesday from 11 am-12:20 pm

In Burlington:

  • Starting March 1, every second Tuesday from 1-2 pm.

Sign up for free caregiver classes at either location!

Upcoming dates are:


  • Wed., March 11, 3-4:20 pm
  • Tues., March 17, 11 am-12:20 pm
  •  Wed., April 8, 3-4:20 pm
  • Tues., April 21, 11 am-12:20 pm


  • Thurs., March 12, 1-2 pm
  • Thurs., April 9, 1-2 pm

Remember to RSVP

Limit is 12 people, so please sign up by contacting:

Karin Wannamaker at Pittsboro

Lily Jimenez at Burlington

Need coverage for your loved one during this class? Talk with Karin or Lily in advance.