“The number of Americans ages 65 and older is projected to more than double from 46 million in 2016 to over 98 million by 2060, and the 65-and-older age group’s share of the total population will rise to nearly 24% from 15%.” ( source )
As the elderly population increases, there is more need to care for that age group. Everything has changed over the years. Children of the elderly must work or may not live close by. Fortunately, there are organizations to assist with this growing need. BrightStar Care located in Suite 1012 of Renaissance Centre is home care for loved ones who wish to stay in their own place. BrightStar is Joint Accredited and a wonderful resource for those who need care. The Accreditation is one required by hospitals to carry, however, not required by home care. BrightStar chooses to carry this accreditation which means higher standards.
BrightStar Care began in Guernee, IL in 2002. Currently there are 350 franchised offices in the U.S. and Canada, with Erie being one of them. The Erie office is regionally owned and part of four offices in Northwest, PA. The office in Renaissance Centre covers Erie, Crawford and Warren counties. When the Erie office was founded in October of 2008, it began with 5 caregivers and 2 clients. In less than 10 years there has been significant growth. They currently have 72 clients and 136 staff members.
A variety of nursing services are provided, from Alzheimer’s & dementia, to patients with arthritis to children with medical needs. Most patients cared for in Erie are adults 60 and over, however there are some between the ages of 18 – 60. Jennifer Bisbee, VP of Operations indicates, “Our main goal is to assist with daily activities and to keep clients safe and independent in their own home. We don’t do stuff for them, we do it with them. Tasks such as folding laundry, making cookies and more, we get them involved.” Most clients are single and a few live with other family members. The amount of care varies: some require 2 hours, others 12 hours and some even 24 hours. Every case is different.
BrightStar has been in Renaissance Centre since 2012. When the agency initially began in Erie, they were located at 1033 State Street on the 2nd floor. They moved to Bayview Office Park and then made the move back to downtown. They like the convenience of the location of Renaissance Centre. Having the parking ramp and being on a bus route are two assets. Many of the staff take the bus and many clients are downtown. Since they have moved to Renaissance Centre, clients will come to visit. They recently relocated from the 11th floor to the 10th floor within Renaissance Centre. Jennifer stated, “We worked directly with Melani Scott, Director of Operations, and the transition worked great.”
There are over 30 home care agencies in the Erie area. So what makes BrightStar stand out? As an agency they have high standards. The advantage to them as caregivers is they have annual competency tests and annual training. In 2019 home care agencies will move to managed care if they are state funded. The transition will be smooth for BrightStar as they already have the proper standards in place.