After the death of his wife, Paul Willy realized he needed help. 

 He sought the Franciscan Health Dyer Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly or PACE. The experience, he said, was life-changing.

“They actually saved my life,” Willy said. “I would not be here. They say, ‘all your health care needs.’ That’s true.”

PACE is a national, community-based healthcare program created for people 55 and older who are eligible for nursing-home level care but prefer to remain in their own familiar surroundings.

The PACE model of care is centered around the belief that the well-being of seniors with chronic care needs and their families are better served in their own communities whenever possible.

The program enables seniors to live as independently as they can by providing all-inclusive primary care and specialty services.  Each participant is assigned a nurse practitioner, social worker, physical therapist, occupational therapist, dietitian, nurse and home care coordinator.

“Basically, from eyeglasses to transportation needs, we help our participants access all medically necessary services under one roof,” said Brooke Nack, administrative director for the Franciscan Health PACE program. “Through social activities at our day center to spiritual care in our chapels, PACE participants are consciously aware that we love them and are here to walk with them in their care journey.”

A study conducted for the National PACE Association found participants are less likely to suffer depression. According to the study, 27% of new PACE enrollees scored as depressed on an intake assessment. After nine months with the program, 80% were no longer depressed.

Blanche Greene, a participant in the Franciscan Health Dyer PACE program said during one of her twice-weekly visits that, “it’s a blessing to be here.”

Greene said she regained her mobility thanks to the therapy she received through the PACE program.

“I have been through so much and to have somebody to have fun with and to help you out in life, there’s a lot of healing here,” Greene said.

Willy said he enjoys the holistic approach to the program. 

“For the elderly, you couldn’t ask for anything better than this,” Willy said. “It stimulates your mind and your body.”

Franciscan Health operates PACE programs in Indianapolis, Dyer and the newest location, Michigan City, which opened its doors at the repurposed Homer Street campus in January 2022. A new PACE program is being developed and will be in place in Lafayette in 2023.

Michigan City PACE Center Manager Melissa DeSutter encourages anyone interested in the program for themselves or a family member to contact their local center to learn more.

“I would say if you or a loved one are having challenges balancing all your doctor’s appointments, keeping your medications straight or unsure how to set up services, PACE can help,” DeSutter said. “If you’re having challenges with going to the hospital frequently, if you’re concerned about your care needs, I would call and have a conversation.”

For more information, contact the Dyer program at (219) 864-2630, the Indianapolis program at (317) 528-7223 or the Michigan City program at (219) 214-4619. 

Additional information about the PACE program is available online at