(September 26, 2023) – It is with heavy hearts that Elderhaus and EveryAge share news of the September 24, 2023, passing of Linda Pearce, 77, founder of Elderhaus and a tireless advocate for aging seniors and their caregivers.
Elderhaus was incorporated in May of 1981 in Wilmington, NC, as a non-profit, 501(c)3 corporation to offer an alternative to premature or unnecessary institutionalization of frail, elderly residents of New Hanover County. Its Board was comprised of community members who sought to meet the needs of people who were providing constant care in the home rather than placing their loved ones in a nursing home.
Elderhaus initially served clients two days a week before expanding as a full-time service and soon gaining certification by the Department of Social Services as a Medicaid benefit. In 1986, Elderhaus began to offer a combination of adult day care and adult day health.
In 2008, Elderhaus opened its doors as the first PACE (Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly) site in North Carolina. As a PACE program, Elderhaus changed the health care delivery system for participants who lived in New Hanover and Brunswick Counties. By 2016, the organization had a staff of 106 employees and served 175 participants in its three programs: PACE, adult day care, and adult day health.
In 2020, construction began on a new PACE center specifically designed to care for participants according to PACE guidelines and its model of care. In that same year, EveryAge welcomed Elderhaus as part of its family of senior living services.
In a little over 40 years, Linda’s grassroots vision for senior care gave rise to a thriving organization that improves the quality of life of countless participants and supports their caregivers and families as well. That’s not only a legacy of caring but also a testament to how dreams can be steadily built and realized through tenacity and courage. Thank you, Linda. Well done, good and faithful servant.
*Note: Linda served as the executive director of Elderhaus for 32 years and was also the first African-American woman to chair the UNC-Wilmington Board of Trustees.