Catholic Health Set to Open Unique Independent Living Program at OLV Senior Neighborhood

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October 6, 2009

Living Independently For Elders (LIFE) offers traditional nursing home care in non-traditional settings

For many area seniors, there’s no place like home, but sometimes living independently can be a difficult challenge. What if there was an alternative to traditional nursing home care that provided all the same medical and support services, while allowing seniors to remain in their own homes?

This innovative long term care option is now a reality in Erie County as Catholic Health introduces LIFE – Living Independently For Elders – opening in November at the OLV Senior Neighborhood in Lackawanna. LIFE is a state and federally funded PACE (Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly) program, which allows area seniors to live independently while receiving needed services at home and in a community-based health setting. This is the first program of its kind in Erie County and the final piece of the OLV senior living community, which also includes the Victory-Ridge Apartments and the Mercy Nursing Facility at OLV.

“Our goal is to keep individuals in their own homes for as long as possible,” said Thomas Schifferli, Executive Director of the LIFE program. “We do this by working closely with family members and by providing all the medically necessary services an individual may need to maintain their independence.”

Catholic Health LIFE is a comprehensive independent living program that provides a wide range of services in the senior’s home, as well as in the newly remodeled “LIFE Center” on the OLV campus. As part of the program, Catholic Health LIFE coordinates all necessary medical and support services and becomes the primary caregiver for seniors who voluntarily enroll in the program.

Services offered through LIFE include all inpatient and outpatient medical care, rehabilitation services, social work, nutrition services, home health care, dental care, mental health services, eye care, podiatry services, prescription drug management, and social and recreational activities. Transportation is also provided to and from appointments and visits to the LIFE Center.

Participation in Catholic Health LIFE is open Erie County residents age 55 or older who qualify for nursing home care but choose to remain in their own home with assistance. Interested participants must need the services of the program for at least 120 days and be able to have their needs safely met at home and in the LIFE Center. The cost of the program is covered by Medicare and/or Medicaid. Private pay options are also available.

“It’s no secret that people are living longer and Western New York has one of the fastest growing senior populations in the nation,” Schifferi added. “Though innovative programs such as LIFE, Catholic Health is committed to helping area seniors remain active and independent.”

Catholic Health is now accepting applications for the LIFE program. For more information, or to schedule a tour of the LIFE Center, call 819-LIFE (5433).