“Not only are we able to provide access to those who’ve had dental coverage for all these years and retire, we’re able to provide coverage for those who have never had dental care for whatever reason… Imagine the benefit that that has on a person, you know, nutritionally and psychologically… to be able to feel proud about the way you look and about the way you feel. It is a powerful feeling.” – Gwen Graddy
Hello! Welcome to the Aging Pearls Podcast, where we’re dedicated to providing dental pearls for all those concerned with the oral care needs of our aging population. I am Dr. Christie Hogue and today, I am joined by Gwen Graddy, MD, FACP and Theodore Suh, MD, Ph.D. to talk about PACE or the Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly, an important provider of medical, dental, and social care for the aging population. It is a program composed of an interdisciplinary team committed to empowering participants with knowledge and resources to manage their own health.
Dr. Gwen retired as the Chief Medical Officer of PACE in 2021 and is now the coordinator for medical education for PACE South East Michigan.
Dr. Theodore is the ACU Medical Director for the Turner Geriatrics Clinic at the University of Michigan. He also served as the first Medical Director for Huron Valley PACE.
[00:01 – 10:17] What is PACE?
- Dr. Theodore explains PACE
- Starting in the 70s and now expanding to approximately 130 programs across the United States
- How do you qualify for PACE?
- Looking at PACE as an alternative to other forms of long term care, such as assisted living or nursing home
- All-inclusive and interdisciplinary – PACE includes not just medical but also social, dental, and even transportation services to its participants
- What does a typical day of a PACE participant look like?
- Dr. Gwen focuses on the heart of PACE
- The need for holistic care for the older population
- She shares her passion for caring for the elderly
[10:18 – 19:50] Oral Health for Older Adults
- Dr. Theodore’s perspective as an oral health expert
- The impact of losing their dental benefits in retirement
- How other medical conditions and medications can affect oral health
- The role caregivers and families play in dental care
- Dr. Gwen’s take as a geriatrician and internist
- Coming together as an interdisciplinary team to solve a participant’s problem
- Coverage not only for the retired but also for those who never had dental care
- Supporting caregivers is essential, too
[20:39 – 24:29] Keeping Up the PACE During the Pandemic
- The importance of community and connectedness for the elderly
- How PACE programs became innovative at the height of COVID-19
[24:30 – 26:01] Final Thoughts
- Connect with Dr. Christie Hogue – leave a review and comment (links below)
“I’ve always had a love for caring for older adults and always felt like they deserve to get the best care. Towards the end of their lives, the care shouldn’t go down. The quality shouldn’t go down. The quality should go up.” Dr. Gwen Graddy
“The loss of one’s teeth, of course, has other implications in terms of their [elderly] ability to maintain their body weight, their enjoyment of eating, plus their self-image and mental health.” – Dr. Theodore Suh
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