Community Care’s Adult Day Center helps seniors maintain healthy life

July 2, 2020

Paulette Butler looks forward to the days she spends at Community Care’s Vliet Street adult day center. The people are nice. The food is good. While her favorite activity is art, she really looks forward to the time she spends exercising.

This is just one of the many ways with which Community Care engages members enrolled in a one-of-a kind program in Wisconsin. The Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, or PACE, helps frail and disabled individuals age 55 and older live as independently as possible for as long as possible within the community. Community Care is the only managed care organization in Wisconsin to offer the program.

Butler has been coming to the PACE day center, 3220 W. Vliet Street, for about 15 years. She enjoys the variety of programming available, like the tai chi class she is currently taking. This is not your typical exercise class. The pace is slower. There’s no sweating. As physical activities go, tai chi is low impact.

“I like it because I can do it either sitting or standing, because I can’t stand yet because of my balance,” Butler said. “It’s just a smooth, quieter exercise than what most exercise classes are and I like that.”

Tai chi is an ancient form of exercise that originated in China. While it has been popular in China for generations, it has taken awhile to catch on in the U.S. But now, researchers are studying the effects of tai chi on individuals with chronic health conditions. Tai chi has shown benefits in improving health-related fitness, muscle strength, fall prevention, and flexibility.

Kevin Konieczka, a PACE rehab therapy supervisor, inherited the program when he joined Community Care. With a background as a personal trainer, Konieczka quickly discovered the benefits this form of exercise provided to participants at the day center.

“You don’t have to be super fit to do this. This is really geared toward the senior population,” Konieczka said. “It helps keep the mind sharp or make new connections.”

For more than 40 years, Community Care has been helping adults with long term care needs connect with the services they need to remain in their own homes and foster independence.

In June, Community Care began providing Family Care in Dane County, bringing to 15 the total number of counties it currently serves. Community Care serves more than 15,000 members.

In addition to PACE, Community Care also offers Family Care and Family Care Partnership. Community Care contracts with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services to provide all three programs, which are funded through a combination of Medicaid and Medicare.