She's an independent woman who'd rather be riding a horse, but instead she's battling a serious health issue.
"My spine is collapsing. I've gone from 5-foot-3 to 4-foot-11," she said.
But Louise doesn't want to go into a nursing home. That's why she's a participant in PACE-- a program that helps seniors in Rutland and Colchester maintain their independence. PACE provides everything from housekeeping and personal care to medical services at people's homes or in its day facilities.
"It's a capitated program, so we're paid by Medicaid and Medicare and it's a per member, per month payment," said Jeanne Hutchins, a PACE board member.
PACE has 88 successful programs in 29 states, but no longer in Vermont. On March 31 it will close both its Rutland and Colchester facilities. That means 140 participants will need to find other care and 80 employees will be laid off.
"I just feel like I'm sad. I'm very sad," Louise said.
"Is PACE needed in Vermont? Yes. Is the model financially viable? It seems not so," Hutchins said.
PACE says it has been struggling financially for years. That's because it says Vermont's Medicaid reimbursement rate is lower than other states. And the majority of participants signing on to the program lately are sicker and need more costly services.
"When people choose to go to PACE, they were choosing to go when they were very sick and we used a lot of resources. We didn't have that spread that you need to keep a capitated program running," Hutchins said.
"I was shocked," Susan Bresee said.
Bresee's 82-year-old dad, Ralph, was one of PACE's first participants after he suffered a stroke and needed a variety of services. He was able to live more independently with the support PACE provided.
"They've kept him healthy. He's never been back to the hospital or emergency room, never went to a nursing home," Bresee said.
But now Ralph is in a nursing home due to PACE's impending closure. Cowgirl Louise hopes to find a program similar to PACE, so she can keep her independence and remain at home.
"If I can, I want to maintain as much independence as possible. I think everybody wants that," she said.
PACE says it's working to link its participants up with other services and suspects many people will partner with the VNA.
Friday, May 24 2013 11:30 PM EDT2013-05-25 03:30:10 GMT
A hole in the road closed one of the routes into Canada Friday.State Police say Route 5 in Derby Line is closed near Caswell Avenue because of a hole in the pavement just a couple of feet over the lineMore >>
A hole in the road closed one of the routes into Canada Friday.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 7:17 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:17:06 GMT
It was a storm that left residents with more damage than they could have ever imagined. "The basement has about 13 inches of water," said Bob Genter of Underhill. And preparing for the aftermath of theMore >>
Flash floods left destruction across the region. And the rain is not over. Heavy downpours left some people trapped in their neighborhoods as emergency crews work to try to clear the roads.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 7:54 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:54:18 GMT
Vermont State Police say the following roads have been closed due to flooding:UNDERHILL: VERMONT ROUTE 15, CILLEYHILL POKER HILL ROAD NORTH UNDERHILL STATION ROAD PAIGE ROAD DAUDLIN ROAD BROWNS TRACE,More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 7:20 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:20:50 GMT
As the cleanup gets underway from Thursday night's flash flooding, the focus shifts now to the broader impacts of rising rivers from around the region. All the rain so far and more to come is running intoMore >>
All the rain is running into larger streams and rivers that are moving rapidly toward flood stage.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 12:44 PM EDT2013-05-24 16:44:50 GMT
Heavy rains have caused more flooding problems around our region, and the situation could get worse as the rain continues to fall over the holiday weekend. So far, the impact has mainly been seen in roadMore >>
Heavy rains have caused more flooding problems around our region, and the situation could get worse as the rain continues to fall over the holiday weekend.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 9:51 AM EDT2013-05-24 13:51:55 GMT
Over the river and throught the woods isn't just the way to grandma's house, its the way a lot of people are having to travel just to make it to their front door. Dormant brooks and sleepy streams turnedMore >>
Strong rains Thursday flooded roads in Essex.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 7:25 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:25:14 GMT
A rainy Vermont City Marathon forecast isn't slowing down runners or organizers. "Well, we're going to make some liquid sunshine out of all of this rain. That's the only choice we've got right now," saidMore >>
The countdown is on to this weekend's Vermont City Marathon and final preps are underway. Those finishing touches are coming in the rain, but organizers say the weather isn't slowing things down.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 7:35 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:35:15 GMT
The bad weather has forced the postponement of the annual Memorial Day parade in Essex. The parade is held annually on the Saturday morning of the holiday weekend. But after all the rain and flooding damageMore >>
The bad weather has forced the postponement of the annual Memorial Day parade in Essex.More >>