Apr 12, 2023 - News

New D.C. facility targets Black senior care gap

A clinical room at Edenbridge. Photo: Chelsea Cirruzzo/Axios

A new facility at Skyland Town Center is offering comprehensive care to elderly D.C. residents living east of the Anacostia River, filling a gap in health care for Black seniors.

What’s happening: Edenbridge PACE had its grand opening yesterday as a new option for low-income, nursing-home-eligible older adults who want to age at home.

Why it matters: The new center aims to address stark health disparities between Black and white seniors in D.C. by providing a health care unit and socialization opportunities.

Zoom in: Rates of heart failure, diabetes, stroke, and pulmonary disease among Black seniors in D.C. were two-to-three times higher than their white counterparts, per a 2021 study by AARP’s D.C. chapter and Georgetown University’s Department of Health Systems Administration.

  • Black seniors on Medicare are also two times more likely than their white counterparts to be admitted to the hospital for preventable reasons.

Details: Edenbridge is part of the federal PACE program, which gives these services free of charge to low-income seniors on both Medicare and Medicaid.

The physical therapy room. Photo: Chelsea Cirruzzo/Axios

How it works: Participants are provided transportation several times a week to the facility, across the street from a newly opened Lidl.

  • At the facility, they can choose how to spend the day. There are services like an on-site clinic, a community room, and a physical therapist.
  • The center also provides medical assistance devices such as wheelchairs, oxygen, and walkers.
  • Meals are provided courtesy of local caterer Pinke’s Eats.

Yesterday, participants listened to music and ate snacks in one of the community rooms ahead of a day of planned activities that included fitness classes and games.

Worth noting: Edenbridge opened ahead of the new St. Elizabeths East health facilities in nearby Congress Heights, which is expected to bring more comprehensive health care to the area as United Medical Center prepares to close.

What they’re saying: With constant health monitoring, people at Edenbridge can “re-engage in things that matter in life, without life revolving around the next doctor’s appointment, ” says center executive director Amanda Davis.

  • It also means care is provided proactively before someone has to go to the emergency room, says Brian McKaig, senior VP of launch operations.

State of play: The center currently has 18 participants, but hopes to bring in 250-300 over the next three years.


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