Penn Nursing Helps Elders with LIFE

Since 1998, Penn Nursing has been providing a unique, all-inclusive system of healthcare enabling frail senior citizens who would otherwise be facing nursing home placement to live at home. The practice is called Living Independently for Elders (LIFE), and over the past 14 years, it has served more than 1,000 West and Southwest Philadelphia seniors.

It is currently the only Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) run by a school of nursing. Funded by Medicare and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Department of Public Welfare, LIFE offers seniors the choice to remain with their families instead of moving into a nursing home while receiving care. The LIFE center also provides those family members who juggle the dual responsibilities of providing care and working with the assurance that their loved ones are being cared for properly. In addition to being an economical alternative to a nursing home, the LIFE program provides nurse-led care that treats patients holistically, taking care of ongoing needs rather than treating problems when they arise.

LIFE members are picked up in vans daily and brought to the senior center, where their meals are provided and they can participate in activities that range from gardening and Bible study, to jewelry making and art classes—a popular activity that has produced pieces that were displayed in the Capitol rotunda in Washington, D.C.

Throughout the day, LIFE members have the opportunity to meet with nurses, podiatrists, physical therapists, primary doctors, dentists, and other members of the LIFE healthcare team. Additionally, a council of elders comprised of LIFE participants meets monthly to make sure the community’s needs are heard and to help develop the policies and values of the center. To find out more about the LIFE center visit: www.lifeupenn.org.

Video by Kurtis Sensenig