Revolutionizing Senior Care: Monmouth County's Beacon of Life PACE Initiative provides unique all inclusive care for seniors. To qualify you must be over 55 years of age, a Monmouth County resident and qualify for Medicare or Medicaid.
MONMOUTH COUNTY, NJ: The Beacon of Life is Monmouth County's PACE initiative (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly), located at 1075 Stephenson Avenue, Oceanport, New Jersey 07757. Beacon of Life (BOL) PACE is literally a quality-of-life-saver for so many seniors and their families. Beacon of LIfe PACE is a solution to a crisis for many elderly adults and the families who love them.
Years ago senior care was completely different. When it became too difficult or unsafe for the elderly to independently take care of themselves, Grandma or Grandpa would naturally move in with the family if they didn't already live with them. Or perhaps if they were becoming less independent, but did not want to move out of the home they raised their family in then care could be provided in their home by family. This would entail family members visiting and caring for them daily, making sure they were eating properly and driving them to their doctor's appointments, dispensing their medications, etc.
The past was more of a village environment where neighbors and families gathered together daily to socialize and weekends were full of big family meals and Sunday gatherings. The elderly had their physical needs attended to and there was everyday socialization to keep their minds alert as possible. They had easy access to balanced nourishment.
Fast forward to today and quite a lot has changed. It is a different world. In many cases adult children have much less flexibility with their time. Many are faced with demanding jobs and busy schedules to attend to with their own children. Also, families are spread all over the country more than ever and may not have the proximity, time and resources to provide support for their elderly parents. The adult children and their parents often feel they have no choice but a nursing home. This is where Beacon of Life PACE fills in the gap.
The gap between healthy independent living and nursing home care is much shorter and even sudden, without the elderly person having family members to support them in their home environment. This can create a very stressful, devastating and sometimes hopeless situation for families who want to care for their elderly family members so they can stay in their own homes, and do not have the resources or proximity to do so. Beacon of Life is truly the light at the end of the tunnel for many aging Monmouth County residents struggling to maintain a healthy life in their own homes.
A Beacon of Life participant's daughter Nancy comments, "Beacon of Life is truly an answer to our prayers. We never knew this wonderful program existed. I work full time and I felt I couldn't care for my mom enough and I was constantly worried about her while I was at work. Now that my mother is a member at Beacon it seems like her overall health has improved and she's much happier. She has a whole new social life. They even keep track of her medications and her medical appointments. If she's not feeling well to come in they send a homecare aid to the house to check on her. We love love Beacon!"
The Beacon of Life PACE offers comprehensive care in an adult day care setting. A team of health care professionals is on-site to make sure participants’ needs are met and their goals are achieved. PACE programs provide a variety of healthcare services in one location and offers transportation as needed to other healthcare appointments.
TAPinto Middletown was invited to tour the facility with Executive Director Pinni Friedman.
Friedman commented, "Beacon of Life provides community based care and services to people who may otherwise have no choice but to go straight to a nursing home. PACE was created as a way to provide the elderly with flexibility to receive health care and recreational activities, while helping them remain in the comfort of their own community."
Friedman went on to explain that Beacon of Life PACE treats every member on an indivdual basis. Beacon is first about preventation first If someone is a fall risk and they do not have safety bars in their bathrooms, Beacon of Life will arrange to install them. Or if the person can no longer walk up the steps into their home, Beacon can install a ramp for safe access. The health and safety of the members are the top priority.
Friedman continues, "I have a professional background in the nursing home industry and one of the services that PACE provides that the nursing homes do not is PACE enables individuals to live in their own home safely for as long as possible. Before PACE many people would think once you are a little unsafe at home, you go straight to the nursing home. At Beacon of LIfe; we fill that gap. With PACE, nursing homes are the last resort. We provide our members with the best possible quality of life to live safely at home as long as possible."
Beacon provides a full service adult daycare program with door to door transportation, or members can drop in at their leisure. Every day is full of recreational activites and events. There is an area on the wall where members can pick up the daily program. It is full of activities, much like the daily programs given out every morning at a resort or cruise vacation. Everyday has a schedule of various entertainment, group trips, physical activities, mental activities, educational programming, health and wellness options like yoga and dance, all at your own pace and optional. Transportation is offered to and from the facility, to medical specialist appointments, etc.
Friedman continues, "Here at Beacon it is about maintaining the best possible physical and emotional care for each individual. We have our primary care physicians on site. If one of our members has to go to the hospital then our medical team joins the doctors there to coordinate the best care. We transfer them to specialists. For example if someone needs a cardiologist, we arrange for that and provide transportation and send an assistant along if the member needs companionship for the appointment. If someone needs to go for surgery we are there to coordinate their care. All of our caretakers are employees here so we control the quality of care because we do not outsource. All of our transportation drivers travel with an assistant. We cover all the bases."
As for the healthcare protocol at Beacon; preventative is first and then, "Every single decision made is with the team consulting; the physician, the social worker, the physical therapist together make decisions. We meet every morning in our conference room and we go over each participant's special needs for the day. We are that extra family member helping navigate their individual medical care, their social activities and their overall wellness. However, we don't overstep. For example, if family is in town for the weekend, we do not intrude on that. Otherwise we are checking in to see what the needs for the day are." comments Friedman.
The tour of Beacon began in the large social dining area with cozy seating social areas and lots of room for dining, entertainment and recreation. Friedman discussed how lunch is made available daily and the onsite nutritional guidance. Friedman comments, "We have a full time dietician, we also have staff who will deliver meals or help them cook in their own homes. We have two full time social workers who take care of any of their medicare or medicaid issues. They also manage homecare. Some members may need help to shower and dress in their own homes before the Beacon transportation picks them everyday. Some others may need homecare once a week to help with laundry. Beacon supplies aids to go to wherever they are needed. However members also have the option to drop off their laundry at Beacon in the morning and bring their clean laundry home with them."
Friedman went on to show more private rooms reserved for Beacon members to have their book club meetings, meditation, practice yoga, etc. Beacon even has their own band as different members play different instruments together. It's four members and one employee and they practice and entertain everyone. There is a quiet room for low functioning patients who may want to get away from the noise of the dining and open social areas. There is a personal care area with laundry services and a convenient hair salon available to members. There are also two large handicap accesible showers in the event members need access to one.
The medical wing has a reception area and waiting room like any modern medical facility. There are 4 exam rooms, and triage areas with hospital beds and equipment. Everything from labs and x-rays are done on site at Beacon. Beacon manages the member's medication and has its own pharmacy room with innovative prescription medication automatic dispensers timed to dispense the proper dose per the actual patient's schedule. They are carefully filled and monitored and serve two purposes for the participant; so they don't forget to take their medication and they don't take too much. "Because we have all of their electronic records and they are under the care of our primary physician here, every member's complete medical records are accessible to the primary physician. That means we have the whole picture at our fingertips. So each person on their medical team knows exactly what meds the individual is taking and can best manage their care and that's what it's all about here at Beacon, caring for our participants as best as possible."
Beacon of LIFE’s mission is to provide the newest healthcare and social service choices for elders living in Monmouth County. The Beacon of LIFE center was established to deliver PACE (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) services. The PACE model is centered on the belief that it is better for the well-being of seniors with chronic care needs and their families to be served in the community whenever possible.
Under PACE, participants must receive all needed health care, including primary care and specialist physician services (other than emergency services) from the PACE organization or from an entity authorized by the PACE organization. PACE participants may be fully and personally liable for the costs of unauthorized or out-of-PACE services. Emergency services are covered.
According to Beacon's website the PACE services include but are not limited to the following:
- Primary Care
- Social Services
- Physical Therapy
- Occupational Therapy
- Nutritional Services / Meals
- Home Care Services
- Hospital Care
- Emergency Services
- Medical Specialty Services
- Prescription Drugs
- Nursing Home Care
- End of Life Care
- Dental Care
- Adult Day Care with Recreational Activities
- Laboratory / X-ray Services
PACE also includes other services determined necessary by your team of healthcare professionals to improve and maintain your overall health. Enrollment is voluntary and you may disenroll at any time.
To request more information from us about the benefits and eligibility for Beacon of Life, click below!
Beacon of LIFE
1075 Stephenson Avenue, Suite B
Oceanport, NJ 07757
Phone: (732) 592-3400
Fax: (732) 592-3500