LeadingAge California's website is a consumer resource and link for people interested in aging services and care throughout the state
Before 2008, Walter Weiss was at risk. A number of Walter’s friends had recently died, leaving him depressed and alone. Past medical issues – including knee and hip replacements as well as triple bypass surgery – had depleted his savings. To pay the medical bills, Walter also had been forced to sell his house and move into a HUD senior housing development. He not only was socially isolated, but also continued to experience health problems: He was 53 pounds overweight and had high cholesterol, high blood pressure and coronary artery disease. He was declining both physically and emotionally.
Things changed in June 2008 when Walter discovered the St. Paul’s PACE program in San Diego. PACE, which stands for program of all-inclusive care for the elderly, is a service model which helps support the independence of elders living in the community by providing a range of in-home and onsite social and healthcare services. At St. Paul’s, Walter received occupational and physical therapy which has increased his strength and energy, thus helping enhance his mobility. He also has lowered his cholesterol level and blood pressure with the help of St. Paul’s PACE health promotion services.
Most striking, however, is Walter’s emotional transformation. Before connecting with the St. Paul’s program, his depression due to loneliness was contributing to his declining health. Now, Walter is thoroughly engaged in social and community activities. He has established an action committee which communicates the benefits of PACE to community leaders and government officials. He also serves on a participant council which meets once a quarter to discuss the services provided by PACE and make recommendations to continually improve care.
Walter has established friendships and relationships through his connections with St. Paul’s PACE. His enthusiasm for the program is most evident from the fact that he’s recruited 13 other residents from his HUD senior housing development to join him at the program. Thanks to this new whirlwind of positive activity, Walter now says he has reasons to live.