Sisters of St. Joseph of CarondeletMay 27, 2022

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Albany nuns team with St. Peter's to keep seniors at home

by Bethany Bump

Published Monday, April 9, 2018, Times Union (Albany)

COLONIE  — A program to keep senior citizens at home and out of nursing homes is expanding into Albany County and parts of Rensselaer County, thanks to the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet.

The sisters, an aging congregation of religious women whose mission is to "serve the dear neighbor," are teaming up with St. Peter's Health Partners to open the region's second Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), a model of care that helps older adults with long-term health needs live safely at home.

St. Peter's had been hoping to expand the model of care into the Albany area but lacked the space, and the St. Joseph's sisters  — whose Albany Province is based in Latham had space to spare on the ground floor — were in need of some long-term solution for their growing health needs.

"We're very excited," said Sister Mary Anne Heenan, director of the Albany Province. "For us, the key here is it will enable us to continue and broaden our mission. We're getting older. There are fewer of us able to go out into the community and do things. This brings the community to us, and serves those in need at the same time."

The center will open in the fall of 2019 at the St. Joseph's Provincial House on Watervliet-Shaker Road in Latham. Approximately 150 sisters live there, all of them elderly, with roughly 80 to 90 of them requiring assisted or skilled care, said Heenan.

"We have some sisters who are totally bedridden and need a full range of nursing care," she said. "We have others who are very limited in their mobility and ability to do things for themselves. We have a number of people who, if they weren't here, would be in a skilled nursing facility."

But the out-of-pocket costs of caring for these women is growing, and as the congregation continues to age, they're only expected to grow, Heenan said.

That's where PACE will come in. Aware of the need for a long-term solution to their care, the sisters inquired about nursing home placements and were put in touch with St. Peter's, whose affiliate Eddy SeniorCare has run a PACE center in Schenectady for 21 years.

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Sister Marianne Baehr and Sister Rose Christine