New personal, memory care community planned for Bethlehem Township

Rendering of the Birches of the Lehigh Valley, which is being built in Bethlehem Township. SUBMITTED –

A groundbreaking will soon be held on a new personal and memory care community in Bethlehem Township. 

Heritage Senior Living LLC of Blue Bell said it plans to build the facility at 5030 Freemansburg Avenue in the township. Berks Ridge will be managing the construction. 

The community will be known as the Birches of Lehigh Valley and will have 93 units with 52 designated for personal care and 41 for memory care. 

The company said it expects to hire around 90 people to work at the community when complete. 

Opening on the 57,654-square-foot community is expected for fall 2023. 

The location is approximately eight miles from The Birches’ sister community, Traditions of Hanover, and is roughly a mile from St Luke’s University Health Network’s Anderson Campus. 

“We’re grateful for the opportunity to bring personal care and memory care to the Lehigh Valley, where we have an established reputation for a caring culture thanks to Traditions of Hanover,” said Kevin McCollum, the president of Heritage Senior Living LLC. “The Birches will provide a wonderful extension of services to support seniors across the Lehigh Valley who need assistance or have memory loss.” 

According to McCollum, the Birches of Lehigh Valley will not require a buy-in fee. Seniors can choose from a variety of apartment styles, including studios and deluxe studios, one-bedroom and companion suites. 

The monthly rent includes 24-hour personal care assistance, three meals a day, life enrichment programing, housekeeping, laundry services, transportation to medical appointments and group outings, maintenance, utilities and other community amenities. 

Heritage Senior Living LLC manages 19 senior living communities throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Virginia.  


$1.2 billion to bolster Pennsylvania’s home care industry

Fermina Maddox of Liberty Resources Home Choices speaks during an event promoting a $1.2 billion investment in the home care industry. –

Personal care workers from the Lehigh Valley joined Acting Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Secretary Meg Snead, to promote a plan to help recruit and retain workers in the field of home care. 

Pennsylvania received $1.2 billion in enhanced federal Medicaid funding from the American Rescue Plan Act to help offer higher wages and benefits for the home care workforce and to recruit more people to work in the industry, which has been traditionally low paying. 

The money is going to the DHS home and community-based services system, which allows seniors, people with intellectual and physical disabilities and children with complex medical needs to receive care and support in their community. 

Unfortunately, Snead said the jobs often don’t come with benefits and pay just over $11 per hour, which leaves many of those working in home care reliant on public assistance to meet their own needs. 

She noted that there hasn’t been an increase in the base wage for personal care workers in more than a decade. 

“In Pennsylvania, we’re faced with this reality of working for $11.50 an hour or less and no benefits. Because our wages are so low, we often rely on public assistance for our own healthcare” said Lynn Weidner, a personal care attendant from Allentown. 

The funds will help DHS offer an 8% increase to base pay for the workers, which Fermina Maddox of Liberty Resources Home Choices in Allentown said is a good start. 

“We applaud DHS for the increase. There’s still a lot to do, however,” she said. 

Snead noted that the $1.2 billion is a one-time boost, and more funding will be needed to sustain the improvements DHS wants to make to the home care system. 

She is hopeful that funding will come through from the Biden Administration’s Building Back Better plan, and the state will receive the funds it needs to build what she called a vital program for Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable residents. 

“This isn’t the end all and be all that keeps this system from collapsing,” she said. “But we think this is a step in the right direction.”