Woods musician launches new home care service
Posted August 18, 2010
Photo provided by Lawrence Barris
HUNTINGTON WOODS — People start their own business for myriad reasons. For Lawrence Barris, the decision was inspired by someone very close to his heart.
After witnessing the inconsistent treatment that his beloved grandmother, Birdie Barris, was receiving from caregivers, the 51-year-old Huntington Woods resident knew that he needed to take action. The experiences of his grandma, now 97, became the impetus for Barris to launch Birdie’s Companion & Home Care, a company dedicated to providing high-quality caregiver services to families in metro Detroit.
“I didn’t want my grandma to end up in a nursing home,” he said. “Although I saw some
wonderful things from caregivers at different rehab places, I also saw some really terrible things, too. It really affected me deeply. I wanted to be able to suggest really kind, helpful caregivers to people, so they wouldn’t have to go through what my grandma did.”
Entering the business world was a major change of pace for Barris, an established guitarist who, in addition to releasing his own original music, had spent his career performing with jazz and R&B artists like George Benson, Ben E. King, Joe Sample, David Ruffin and Earl Klugh. Still, with help from his sister, Stacy, and others, Barris was able to get Birdie’s Companion off the ground last year.
The company provides professional, non-medical care to seniors and other residents at their home, assisted living home or even during a hospital stay. Its services run the gamut from assisting with bathing, walking and meal preparation to providing transportation, basic housekeeping and friendly companionship.
“It’s a gamble if you hire one these big companies because you don’t really know the quality of care that your loved ones are getting,” Barris said. “With our company, people are able to develop a more personalized care service that they know will be a good fit. And once the service is in place, we continue to keep in touch with both the client and the caregiver to make sure everything is going well.”
One of the primary caregivers for Birdie’s Companion is Sharon Jackson, 43, of Walled Lake, who has worked in the business for over 15 years. Her experience has taught her that, much like Barris underwent with his grandmother, many home care services can be a mixed bag.
“There are a lot of people out there who do this job for love of the clients, but there are also some who just do it for love of the money,” Jackson said. “Some of these people will take advantage of their clients and ignore them while they take really long lunch breaks or cigarette breaks.”
With a large network of other reliable caregivers at her disposal, Jackson is well equipped to give Barris a wide range of recommendations based on the particular needs of a client. She stressed that the company is willing to tailor its program according to what works best for each family.
She and Barris were also adamant that with the vast majority of elderly clients, the best decision is to keep them in their own home for as long as possible.
“Most people don’t want to take their moms and dads out of their house,” Jackson said. “They don’t want to take away what little they have left by putting them in a nursing home. Being away from all the things they’re familiar with can be very sad and confusing for them.”
For Barris, simply knowing that other families are receiving the finest home care is music to his ears. He only hopes that no matter what level of success his company is able to achieve from a business standpoint, it will be something that makes Grandma Birdie proud.
“I feel good that we’re providing people with someone who is going to care for them with integrity and virtue,” he said. “I want to see these people taken care of as if they were a member of my own family. They deserve only the best.”
For more information on Birdie’s Companion & Home Care, call (248) 808-8900 or visit www.birdiescompanion.com.
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