What’s the secret to a happy and healthy life as we grow older?
For 82-year-old Martha Grafton, it means staying active, social, independent and in good care. She gets outdoors to walk and dine out, connects with her precious family and comes in three days a week to her favorite place for care – Suncoast PACE (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly), a member of Empath Health.
“I love it here. I can’t wait to come,” expressed Grafton during a recent visit at our PACE center.
A Sense of Home and Family
Grafton is a midwesterner from Ohio with a sweet and outgoing spirit. She worked for 20 years opening stores for Kmart and has lived in Florida for many years. Her husband died in 2003 and she still keeps in touch with her five children, one back in Ohio and everyone else here locally.
“I’m 82 and in good health. My kids call and check with me. They are good kids and have good jobs. I love them dearly.”
A PACE representative came to speak with the residents in Grafton’s building. In May 2016, she enrolled.
“I said, sign me up. Coming here is the best thing that has ever happened to me. It gives me an outlet. It gives me incentive to get dressed up in pretty clothes and just get out. It keeps me going.”
To her, the staff is outstanding.
“The people are so nice. They’re so good to me and I appreciate it. I just can’t say enough about them. I call them my family. When we turn in here, I’m home.”
Excellent Care All Around
Every step of the way Grafton feels well cared for by the whole team.
“The drivers are so nice. They come right up to the door and help me in and out. The doctor and staff in the clinic are so knowledgeable. They got me my new glasses. They’re getting me new hearing aids and that will help me so much. The meals are out of this world and healthy. When we have lunch, the girls on the floor help out and everybody from all of the offices come out and pitch in,” she explained.
She especially appreciated the extra attention and communication given during Hurricane Irma.
“When that storm came, my caregiver called me so many times. I think that’s what draws me here – the love.”
An Active Community
Sharing kindness and companionship with her fellow participants comes naturally to Grafton.
“I visit with them because maybe I’m the only one who they communicate with that day. I always have some candy in my pocket to give. I guess I’m a caregiver. I love them,” she said.
Various fitness and recreational activities help her and other participants stay strong and well.
“I want to stay healthy. I like to walk. I like to sew and make jewelry. People donate all of those things (supplies) for us. I think that’s so nice. People teach us things, like watercolors. There’s laughing yoga and all morning we have different exercises. Even for people who aren’t able to do much or are in wheelchairs, they can work on their arms and legs. There’s something for everyone. We have a fun time.”
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