Sister stays connected without the stress
“I appreciate them so much!” says 80-year-old Anne Trochez, referring to the staff at the Center for Elders’ Independence Eastmont PACE Center. “CEI is a godsend for people like my sister who are having trouble taking care of themselves.” Not long after her sister, 88-year-old Sophia Correa, lost her husband 10 years ago, Anne became Sophia’s primary caregiver, taking on responsibility for finding suitable housing near her own East Bay home, arranging medical appointments and transportation, making sure her beloved oldest sister had company and whatever she needed to be comfortable as her health gradually declined. Sophia’s four children visit when they can, but live too far away to be involved in her day-to-day care.
While Anne was pleased with the first residence she found for Sophia, “It just offered ‘board and care,’” she says, “no activities, no transportation.” The B&C owner recommended CEI because some of the other residents there are CEI members. “I was pleasantly surprised at how much CEI does, picking her up, making appointments,” Anne says, adding, “It’s been perfect – helps her to be involved in the community,” instead of just sitting in her room.
She adds that the operator of the B&C where her sister currently lives also appreciates the care Sophia receives from CEI and “thinks it’s such a good program. She’s very impressed with how well they follow up” on any concerns she or Anne reports to CEI staff, a reminder that supporting and coordinating with caregivers – family as well as other community
providers – is an integral and socially valuable aspect of PACE “all-inclusive” care.
After Sophia enrolled five years ago, Anne saw improvement in her sister’s health. “They diagnosed Sophia’s allergies, which have gotten better, and gave her a special supplement so her appetite picked up...I noticed my sister was shuffling when she walked and they made sure she had a safe walker that she can use when she goes out so she doesn’t fall. That really helps me feel more secure when I take her to visit our other sister.” Anne still visits Sophia two or three times a week and takes her to all the family gatherings, “so she can know her grandchildren.”
The sisters grew up in Watsonville with four other siblings, raised by parents who had immigrated from Mexico. Their father was a farm laborer and for a time,
the children joined him working in the fields, except for Anne, the youngest. “Sophia still introduces me as her ‘baby sister’!” she laughs. “It’s important to stay close to them, don’t abandon them,” she says of her siblings and the other seniors she sees at her sister’s B&C home.
Anne is grateful that Sophia’s medical care is well managed by CEI’s interdisciplinary team. “It’s really freed me up and made me feel so much better! I used to have so much guilt and stress if I could not see her every day, but now, if something comes up, I know she has come to CEI and I know people are watching out for her every day. It’s a really good feeling.”