Curtis Lovett attended his first ribbon-cutting ceremony and hopes to soon attend his first baseball game in many years.
The 62-year-old from Yonkers was at the blessing and ribbon-cutting for ArchCare’s Senior Life Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) on the campus of Cabrini of Westchester in Dobbs Ferry June 25.
“It’s been a very busy morning and an exciting one,” Lovett told CNY. “ArchCare does a lot for me. The staff is beautiful and the doctors are fantastic. The people here are very nice and all the clients get along very well.”
Auxiliary Bishop Gerald T. Walsh celebrated Mass for staff, residents and PACE participants and their families before blessing the new center with prayer and cutting the ribbon.
“It’s a pleasure to be with you today in this wonderful health care facility,” Bishop Walsh said in his homily. “I want to take a moment to thank the administration, the staff and all the people who live and work here. We all know it’s very important to respect all human life from the very beginning to the natural end. You do it so well here and I felt it was important for me to acknowledge that.”
The senior life PACE center at Cabrini of Westchester is the fourth and the first outside New York City for ArchCare, the health care system of the Archdiocese of New York. The program offers nursing-home eligible seniors the opportunity to continue living at home while receiving the services of a traditional nursing home.
A PACE center combines a medical clinic with a social day center for seniors aged 55 and over. PACE participants are transported to and from the center where they can enjoy breakfast, lunch, socializing and activities like arts and crafts. They receive care from on-site doctors, nurses, therapists and other professionals. If necessary, a PACE client may receive a visit from a home care nurse or home health aide once he or she returns home.
“We’re excited about the opening of the new center in the Hudson Valley,” said ArchCare President and CEO Scott LaRue, who added an announcement of a PACE center in a northern county of the archdiocese may come by the end of the year.
“One of the most significant goals His Eminence Cardinal Timothy Dolan has laid out for us is the expansion of our services into the Hudson Valley and more rural parts of the archdiocese where we do not have a strong presence of licensed service. PACE being the most successful program for keeping nursing home eligible individuals in their homes in the community is the perfect vehicle to do that.”
Lovett, who lives alone in an apartment, is battling multiple health issues such as diabetes, anemia and numbness from the waist down. He was having difficulty keeping track of his 17 medications and his doctor visits and lab tests before he became a PACE client in May. In the program, he visits on-site doctors and nurses, and receives therapy to help him walk. He is taking daily walks in the mornings and evenings, adding distance when he feels up to it.
“My doctors are all here in the program. If they send me out to an appointment, I have car service to bring me there and bring me back. That’s very important,” he said.
“I really enjoy coming here every day because it’s something different. I don’t have to be home looking at the four walls, watching the TV, being worried about the phone or people knocking at the door. I come here and get away from things.”
Lovett enjoys arts and crafts each Wednesday and has a model truck and airplane he made at PACE. Field trips were being announced soon and Lovett was hopeful about a possible trip.
“I’m hoping to see a ballgame. I haven’t been to a ballgame since I was a kid,” he said.
Dr. Antoinette Nigro, a retired physician from Dobbs Ferry, is the younger sister of 72-year-old Nancy Nigro, a Bronx resident who started in the PACE program at Cabrini last month.
“We didn’t even know something like this existed and we were introduced through a social worker at Phelps Hospital (in Sleepy Hollow),” Antoinette said. “They sent us over here to talk to the director. It opened a whole world we were not aware of and a help that was so needed.”