Curve Ball

Talk to any old timer, and they will tell you – life is full of curve balls.  It’s necessary or else we risk becoming complacent and lazy.  Surprises keep us energetic and motivated.  My life is no exception.

With a year full of changes, I was starting to get settled.  The big move “up north” is six months behind me.  The major home renovations are done, and the rest of the work is mostly cosmetic.  I don’t have to use Google Maps every time I go to the grocery store.  My life is developing a routine, including the scenic drive over the James River with a clear view of the shipyard.  The pace of life was slowing.  Perfect time for a shakeup.

I’ve been employed by Riverside PACE since I moved to Virginia.  PACE is a state and federally subsidized program that assists older adults to remain in the community longer versus being place in a long-term care facility.  PACE organizations primarily cater to those on Medicaid and to those that have few family and financial resources available to them.  It is a wonderful concept in theory with one major downfall – neither Medicare nor Medicaid pay the actual cost of care.  Reimbursement rates don’t come close to the total cost of care in our inflated medical system.  Therefore, it is incredibly difficult to maintain a PACE program long-term without experiencing a little red in the budget.  The PACE program I have been with has been struggling since I started.  It wasn’t a huge surprise when administration announced on Thursday (at a last minute meeting for which we weren’t told the subject) that our center would not be renewing our lease on February 1, 2017.  We will be merging with another local PACE agency which is both good and bad news.  It means that the participants we serve will have the chance to go to the other PACE center and maintain service.  It also means that all of the staff at our center will not be able to go to the new facility.  Positions that are available will have to be applied for.  There will be no guarantees.

My initial reaction is to face reality and admit that there isn’t much else I can do about it.  If I am being honest, I already had one foot out the door.  I reached out to a community in Williamsburg a few weeks ago and had a phone interview just days ago.  It’s hard to feel heartbroken when my heart was already looking elsewhere.  The practical part of me has some financial concerns, because I am a firm believer in paying your debts on time.  The thought of not being able to makes me nervous.  The hopeful part of me believes that this is an opportunity to pursue better options.  The fiancé in me wants to make sure that I continue to contribute to our life together.  The fiercely independent woman within me can’t stand the idea of unemployment.  No matter which part of me I choose to listen to, one thing remains the same.  Things will be as they should be.  Worry will get me nowhere.  All I can do is look and apply for jobs.

The potential for me to transition to the new PACE center is promising – there is a rumor that there are several open social work positions.  This makes me feel more confident in the future.  Until things are set stone, please send some positivity my way.  Friends and family have already shown us incredible support during this time.  It makes more of an impact than you know.

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