Suncoast PACE aide Irina Glavnik

Suncoast PACE aide Irina Glavnik sometimes answers to different names when visiting program participants.

At one house, she’s Angela. The participant who lives there thinks Glavnik is her granddaughter. Such is the connection Glavnik has created by helping the participant remain safe and healthy in her home.

“Sometimes it just feels like your family,” Glavnik said.

Ultimately, though, it doesn’t matter to Glavnik what she’s called. She just wants to help seniors live as independently as possible.

“It’s my passion to help people,” said Glavnik, a certified nursing assistant and home health aide who has worked for Suncoast PACE for five years. “You’re needed, and you know somebody appreciates it.”

September is National PACE (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) Month. The theme of this year’s celebration is “PACE: Where You Belong.”

That rings true at Suncoast PACE and the Day Center and Medical Clinic in Pinellas Park. A member of Empath Health, Suncoast PACE aims to support and care for Pinellas County seniors 55 and older who are facing chronic illnesses and aging. Empath plans similar Living Independence for the Elderly (LIFE) programs in Hillsborough and Manatee counties.

The PACE team helps participants achieve a healthy quality of life, stay active and socially connected and live safely and independently at home. Services include primary care, therapies, skilled care, social and emotional support, day care, medical care, in-home care and support, and transportation to the PACE Center or PACE-approved specialists.

Glavnik, a native of Ukraine who moved to the U.S. in the 1990s to make a better life for her family, wasn’t aware of the PACE program before interviewing to join Empath Health. She was seeking a job closer to her home to Largo, but found much more at PACE.

“We do a little bit of everything,” Glavnik said. “I was so surprised. It is really a good program for older people because some of them are just coming (to the Day Center) because they live by themselves. We have healthy activities, good lifestyles.”

Glavnik visits participants both in homes and the Day Center. In homes, Glavnik assists with activities of daily living, such as showering, house cleaning, laundry and meal preparation and provides support for caregivers. At the Day Center, PACE participants take part in fun activities and socialization. They also receive two meals and a snack.

“I wish everybody knew about this program,” Glavnik said. “It’s really a good program for elderly people, and a lot of people just don’t know about that. It’s an opportunity for them to stay at home.”

For more information on Suncoast PACE and its services available to Pinellas seniors, please call (727) 289-0062 or visit