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UMRC Foundation Receives $50,000 Grant from Michigan Health Endowment Fund

CHELSEA, MI–The United Methodist Retirement Communities (UMRC) Foundation has received a $50,000 grant from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund (Health Fund). This grant to the UMRC Foundation is part of a Safety Net Telehealth Initiative by the Health Fund and four other partner funders, launched in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

These funds will support telehealth services to benefit low-income, nursing home eligible older adults who participate in four of UMRC & Porter Hills’ PACE (Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly) sites.  These include Huron Valley PACE in Ypsilanti, Thome PACE in Jackson, and LifeCircles PACE with locations in Holland and Muskegon.  These PACE organizations serve older adults in 11 counties across Michigan.

Services typically offered to PACE participants at the PACE Day Health Centers include comprehensive medical, occupational and physical therapy, pharmacy needs, nutrition and meals, health education, social and recreational activities, and door-to-door transportation.  While COVID-19 has resulted in the temporary closing of these centers, participants still need care and services now more than ever.

“We are thrilled to receive this gift from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund to support the healthcare needs of the older adults we serve through PACE,” said Wendy Brightman, President of the UMRC Foundation and Porter Hills Foundation.  “Our PACE participants live with a variety of chronic health conditions and behavioral health challenges.  It is vital that we keep this vulnerable population as safe as possible from exposure to COVID-19, while still addressing their physical and mental health needs.  This grant from the Health Fund allows us to provide care for these older adults using telehealth technology.”

“Utilizing iPads and conferencing technology, PACE participants, family members, and caregivers will have the ability to connect virtually with PACE clinical team members, allowing participants to receive care, while reducing the exposure for both team members and participants to COVID-19,” explains Luke Reynolds, Executive Director of LifeCircles PACE.  “PACE social work team members will also be able to host virtual caregiver support groups to reduce feelings of isolation, stress, and burnout.”

“The Health Fund has long supported technology solutions to help older adults access health services and stay engaged with their communities,” said Health Fund Program Director Kari Sederburg. “We’re proud to partner with the UMRC Foundation to expand its telehealth capacity not only during this current crisis but into the future.”

PACE serves the social, medical, and supportive needs of low-income, older adults, ages 55 and up, who live within the PACE service area.  PACE participants must be certified as meeting the State of Michigan criteria for nursing facility level of care, but be able to live safely in their homes and communities, thanks to PACE support.  PACE offers a cost-effective alternative to nursing home care, providing overall savings of 40% to the State.

Building on a foundation of 114 years of service, UMRC is a faith-based, nonprofit organization that promotes the wellness, dignity and independence of older adults, by providing high quality, innovative and compassionate senior residential and supportive services. Celebrating 50 years, the mission of Porter Hills is to be trusted experts serving seniors with grace. Its vision is to be nationally recognized as an unparalleled leader and partner in senior services.  In March 2019, UMRC & Porter Hills affiliated, under shared governance and leadership. Together, UMRC & Porter Hills represent the second largest nonprofit senior living organization in Michigan. With a tradition of exceptional quality and a commitment to cutting-edge care, these faith-based organizations and their affiliates combine to serve more than 6,700 older adults each year, from 24 locations and service lines, across 22 counties in Michigan’s lower peninsula.

The UMRC Foundation is the charitable arm for United Methodist Retirement Communities. Since its inception in 1998, the UMRC Foundation has provided over $18,500,000 through its Benevolent Care Fund to help UMRC residents remain in their homes when they outlive their resources.  The mission of the UMRC Foundation is to promote the wellness, dignity, and independence of seniors by supporting UMRC residents, staff, and the communities UMRC serves.

The Michigan Health Endowment Fund works to improve the health and wellness of Michigan residents and reduce the cost of healthcare, with a special focus on children and seniors.