Samira K. Beckwith, president and CEO of Hope HealthCare Services, summed it up best: “It’s not a matter of if, but when.”

Beckwith, speaking about becoming caregivers for our loved ones, hosted a July 1 event featuring national best-selling author Gail Sheehy, who presented to nearly 100 Hope HealthCare Services supporters. Sheehy’s discussion was based on her book, “Passages in Caregiving: Turning Chaos into Confidence.” The nonfiction work chronicles the challenging path Ms. Sheehy followed in caring for an ill spouse for 17 years.

“Fortunately, those of you who live in Southwest Florida have one of the premier health care systems available to you in your own community through Hope HealthCare Services,” Sheehy said, citing Hope’s broad spectrum of care designed to help persons of all ages who are diagnosed with a life-changing illness.

One program Sheehy recognized specifically was PACE, a Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly that Hope offers in Lee County and soon in Charlotte. Available to adults over 55 who qualify for Medicare part A & B or Medicaid, PACE serves those who qualify for nursing home care but want to maintain independent living. The innovative program – offered in only 75 locations in the U.S. – provides help acquiring medical services and supplies, transportation, social and wellness programs and expressive therapies.

“We’re committed to enhancing the quality of life for those in need in our community through a variety of programs and services,” said Beckwith, who opened only the second PACE program in Florida. “Another component of caring for the individual is providing assistance to their caregivers, who can benefit from the assistance they receive through PACE as well as programs offering information and support and specialized services such as respite care and counseling.”

Guests at the event each received a copy of Sheehy’s book, which was personalized during a book signing opportunity following the presentation at Miromar Lakes Beach & Golf Club.

“Gail’s experiences caring for her husband can help all of us be better prepared,” Beckwith said. “One of the important first steps is becoming aware of the services and programs available in our own communities.”