PACE Offers One Solution to Crisis in Long-Term Care

older person with a miniature horse used for therapy

Providence ElderPlace PACE adult day health participant David enjoys his time with a miniature therapy horse visiting from the Triple B Foundation. Photo by Alyce Marinelli

The greying of America continues at a rapid pace with even the youngest baby boomers hitting their 60s this year. By 2030, there will be more people 65 and older than there are children in America, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. This demographic shift is weighing heavily on the health care industry with today’s 65-year-olds having a 70 percent likelihood of needing long-term care in the future. This is happening while the supply of nursing home beds is rapidly dwindling.

It is projected that the number of people age 65+ will nearly double, from 52 million in 2018 to 95 million by 2060, placing an even heavier burden on the home health care industry. Our nation’s private senior care industry is simply not equipped to properly handle such a massive increase of older Americans.

An infographic showing PACE by the numbers

Click on the image above to open a larger infographic.

PACE, which stands for Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, is a Medicare and Medicaid program that could be the answer. PACE allows older people to live in their homes while they are completely cared for by an entire interdisciplinary team that meets all their health care needs; however, PACE is significantly underutilized. Only 32 states have PACE programs, and many people simply aren’t aware that PACE exists.

Luckily for people aging in Washington state, Providence ElderPlace PACE offers seven locations in King, Snohomish, and Spokane counties and aiPACE (Aging in Place PACE) serves Asian Pacific Islanders with a similar program in King County.

Currently, several pieces of legislation that would increase access to PACE, including one bill that would give PACE recipients greater choice for the prescription plans and reduce costs, are moving through Congress. The bipartisan PACE Expanded Act would increase access to medical care and long-term care for older people, accelerate the capacity and reach of the existing 155 PACE organizations, and spur the establishment of new PACE organizations.

PACE programs help people meet their health care needs while staying in their homes instead of going to a nursing home or care facility. PACE provides comprehensive medical care, social services, and a physical site in the community for adult day services. After COVID-19 exposed the vulnerabilities and potential dangers of traditional nursing homes, a growing number of older people turned to PACE for essential services including meals, physical therapy, receiving medications, and more. PACE had far lower rates of infection and death from COVID.

For more information about PACE locally, visit Providence ElderPlace Washington or AiPACE.

Cynthia FlashContributor Cynthia Flash owns Flash Media Services, a media consulting firm based in Bellevue. Providence ElderPlace is her client. Reach her at

This article appeared in the March 2024 issue of AgeWise King County.