I. What You Should Know About Home Care in Erie, PA

Situated along the shores of Lake Erie, Erie is the seat of Erie County and home to just under 95,000 residents. Seniors aged 65 and older make up 14.3% of the city’s population, and there are a number of local programs and services to help older adults stay active and independent.

There are two 60+ senior centers in Erie where you can enjoy a wide range of social and educational activities, including fitness classes, ballroom dance lessons and holiday celebrations. If you’re a nature-lover, you’ll appreciate the stunning views from the Presque Isle State Park, which includes the iconic 19th-century Presque Isle Lighthouse. The city also hosts a number of annual festivals and events, including a well-attended fall craft show, The Panegyri Greek Festival and the must-see Tall Ships Erie festival.

You’ll also be happy to know that health care services are readily available in Erie. UPMC Hamot-Erie is a modern 423-bed facility equipped with a dedicated cancer center and heart and vascular institute, and the Allegheny Health Network operates a number of health care centers in Erie. If you have VA Health Care coverage, you can also visit the Erie VA Medical Center.

II. What You Should Expect to Pay for Home Care in Erie, PA

The Genworth 2020 Cost of Care Survey shows that in Erie, the average monthly rate for home care services is $4,767. Home health care, a type of care that includes some limited skilled medical services such as ostomy management and vital sign monitoring, also costs an average of $4,767 per month.

The rates listed by Genworth are based on 44 hours of care each week, which works out to $25 per hour. Your actual home care costs may be higher or lower than the area average depending on your needs.

The Cost of Home Care & Home Health Care in Nearby Cities

Erie’s home care and home health care rates are an average of $191 above what seniors in Pittsburg pay for the same type of care. In the state capitol, Harrisburg, home care runs about $4,528, while home health care costs are slightly higher at $4,576. Just across the state line in Youngstown, Ohio, rates are notably lower at $4,004 for home care and $4,385 for home health care.

The Cost of Home Care Compared to Other Senior Living Options

In Erie, home care and home health care rates are slightly higher than local assisted living rates, which average $4,315 per month and include room and board along with some limited nonmedical assistance. Adult day care services cost $737 per month, while the median rate for a semiprivate room in a skilled nursing facility is $9,186.

III. How to Find Home Care in Erie, PA

Finding a home care provider for yourself or a loved one can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Below, we explain the process of how to find a home care provider in 5 simple steps. Use the infographic below to help guide your search for in-home care in Erie, PA.

An infographic giving steps to finding a home care provider

Remember that there’s not necessarily a right or wrong choice – it comes down to choosing a provider that you feel comfortable with and who’s capable of meeting your specific needs. No matter which provider you choose, you should always have a formal arrangement with your expectations and the payment rate in writing. Doing so will prevent confusion or potential disagreements down the line so that the focus remains on helping the person receiving care.

IV. Home Care Resources for Seniors in Erie, PA

Mercy Hilltop Center

What You Should Know
Mercy Hilltop Center is a ministry of the Sisters of Mercy that offers free and low-cost programs and services that promote independence among local seniors.

Programming includes a wide range of senior-friendly fitness groups, organized card games, and arts classes. There’s also a book club, senior’s investment club and regularly scheduled educational lectures, holiday parties and weekly movie screenings.

Who Is Eligible?
The center is open to all Erie seniors who can safely participate in programming. The center is located within a single-story residential building and is staffed by volunteers.

How to Get Started
For up-to-date programming information, call the Mercy Hilltop Center at (814) 824-2214 or drop by the center at 3715 Pennsylvania Avenue, Erie, during regular business hours.

Erie Metropolitan Transit Authority — The LIFT

What You Should Know
Erie Metropolitan Transit Authority is the local public transit service for Erie. All EMTA buses are wheelchair accessible, and seniors aged 65 and older can ride for free with an EMTA Senior Identification Card.

Seniors who cannot use the regular fixed-route buses due to disability, as well as seniors who live more than a quarter-mile away from the nearest bus stop, can use The LIFT, the regional paratransit service. The LIFT is a curb-to-curb shared-ride service, and rides need to be reserved in advance.

Who Is Eligible?
As an Erie senior aged 65 and older, you’re eligible to ride any EMTA bus for free upon presentation of your EMTA Senior Identification Card. You may also qualify to use The LIFT paratransit service if you have a qualifying disability validated by a licensed medical professional or if a social service organization can establish that you live more than a quarter-mile from an EMTA bus stop.

How to Get Started
For more information on EMTA’s fixed-route services, the EMTA Senior Identification Card and The LIFT paratransit service, call (814) 455-3330.

Meals on Wheels Erie

What You Should Know
Established in 1971, Meals on Wheels Erie is a nonprofit, volunteer-based organization that delivers low-cost, prepared noontime meals to homebound seniors and adults with disabilities. Each meal includes a starch, protein and vegetable, as well as a salad, a dessert and an 8 oz. carton of milk. All meals are low-sodium, and low-sugar meals are available upon request.

Meals on Wheels volunteers can also shop for groceries for homebound seniors through the organization’s low-cost Grocery Shopping & Delivery Service. When the volunteers drop off your prepared meals or groceries, they’ll take a moment to ask how you’re doing. If you need extra assistance, the volunteer drivers will make a referral to your Meals on Wheels program coordinator.

Who Is Eligible?
If you’re a senior who struggles to shop for your own groceries and/or prepare your own meals, you can sign up for the Meals on Wheels service. You can also use the Grocery Shopping & Delivery Service. There are no financial eligibility criteria for either program, and you’ll be asked to contribute a small donation toward the cost of each meal.

Erie veterans aged 60 and older who are referred to Meals on Wheels by a local social service agency, hospital case manager or veteran’s group are eligible for up to five free home-delivered meals each week through the Veteran’s Meal Program.

How to Get Started
To learn more about Meals on Wheels Erie, call (814) 452-6930.

Greater Erie Community Action Committee — Area Agency on Aging

What You Should Know
The GECAC Area Agency on Aging is the nonprofit agency that is responsible for planning and delivering free and low-cost programs for Erie County seniors. The GECAC oversees a number of services designed to help seniors who want to age in place, including free Medicare counseling, peer support groups, and in-home care.

You can call the agency’s Senior Helpline to speak with a caseworker who will ask what support you require to continue living independently. The caseworker will then provide you with information and referrals to local services that meet your needs.

Who Is Eligible?
If you’re a senior aged 60 and older living in Erie County, you’re eligible for services through the Area Agency on Aging. The agency also accepts calls from family caregivers and community members who provide support to local elders.

How to Get Started
To contact the Area Agency on Aging, call the Senior Helpline at (814) 459-4581, ext. 400.

Erie Redevelopment Authority — Residential Rehabilitation Programs 

What You Should Know
The Erie Redevelopment Authority administers three residential rehabilitation programs that help low and moderate-income homeowners complete safety-critical home repairs. These three programs include Lead Hazard Reduction, General Rehabilitation and Handicap Accessibility.

The ERA provides qualified homeowners with grants and interest-free loans that eligible applicants can use to pay for the removal of lead paint and pipes, resolve code violations related to home maintenance and install wheelchair ramps and make other modifications needed by those with mobility limitations.

Who Is Eligible?
If you have a low or moderate income and you’re a homeowner in Erie, you may be eligible for a nonrepayable grant or low-interest loan for use toward home repairs.

How to Get Started
For more information and current income limits, call the ERA at (814) 870-1540.