Brittney Jeter, a veteran nurse and the visionary behind the Young 60 Plus Club, gained eye-opening insights about senior care during the pandemic. What she saw broke her heart and inspired her to revolutionize senior care.

A senior shared with Jeter haunting words that painted a striking picture of life in traditional elder care: “I’m here 365 days, my family visits maybe eight times out of the year which is normally holidays, and I can’t go outside. Do you know what it feels like to not go outside for that period of time? And on top of that, I’m sitting next to a stranger.”

As a nurse with vivid memories of working during the pandemic, Jeter witnessed that isolation firsthand. “There were some things I saw that were beyond heartbreaking,” she recalled, “I was like, okay, nursing homes aren’t what they used to be.”

Motivated by the pandemic and her grandmother’s hospice experience, Jeter became inspired to innovate senior care. With the help of the Southland Development Authority (SDA), she began her journey from dedicated nurse to innovative entrepreneur.

It was a journey that started with her childhood. She said she was raised by a village of grandmothers on the East Side of Chicago, always providing their wisdom. Her innovative idea, the Young 60 Plus Club, is her way of paying it forward. “Even as a nursing student, you never hear about adult daycare. I never heard of it, I thought I was creating something new,” she said.

Although not a new concept, it was relatively unknown, and Jeter decided to change that. In August 2020, she filed her LLC. “I thought, I’m going to create a different atmosphere to help seniors thrive,” she said, explaining that most programs available to seniors are reactive programs after they have had injuries. However, her program takes a proactive approach, focusing on cognition and mobility. She said, “You focus on those two, [and] people tend to have a little more time to thrive before they need those other services or a 24-hour long-term care facility.”

Those 24-hour long-term care facilities can get costly. According to Senior Living, the median cost of a private room in a nursing home is $330 per day. With the Young 60 Plus Club, a full eight-hour day costs $75. “Even if you take the 24-hour facility and divide it by eight hours, you’re still paying less with our establishment than an eight-hour shift in those long-term care facilities. It’s very affordable.”

To balance this affordability while still finding creative ways to keep the lights on, Jeter turned to SDA for help. The SDA provided Jeter with an invaluable network of support and resources. Jamie Makuch, or the ‘Godmother of Networking’ as Jeter calls her, connected Jeter with influential figures who could assist with various aspects of her business. That list included Donna Miller, the Cook County Commissioner, and Dr. Leon Huddleston, a professional with expertise in both medicine and law. Huddleston helped Jeter through the complexities of legal requirements, HR, and key details on Medicaid.

Additionally, Jeter received critical financial support. Makuch connected her to Allied Community Services for loans that covered startup costs and overhead costs from marketing to construction. She also received the Justin Peterson loan and secured a business line of credit. More than financial support, the SDA provided Jeter with a valuable support network. She said, “Even after getting all my services, I would probably continue to use [the SDA]. Because every day, I am still learning something.”

After securing that business credit line, Jeter hosted a successful grand opening on March 28th. “There were about 100 people there—it was amazing,” she said. Among the attendees were Jada Curry, the Mayor of Lynwood; Shelia-Chalmer-Currin, the Mayor of Matteson; and Donna Miller, the Cook County Commissioner.

Her goal is to reach at least 35 members per day, Monday through Friday. She aims to prove her program’s benefits for seniors through key research. Ultimately, she hopes to inspire a government funding program for what she calls ‘the middle group’ of seniors. “There are some seniors who are highly active and looking for activities. But there’s only one event here and there, nothing they can use continuously. I want to create a continuous program,” she explained.

She also plans to expand, hoping to bring these continuous programs to Chicago and beyond. But most importantly, she says, she wants seniors to have another alternative.

Jeter will start taking on clients on April 15th. For more information on her program, click here.

About Southland Development Authority

The Southland Development Authority is a nonprofit business organization launched in 2019 by business, civic, and political leaders from around the Southland who recognize the potential of the region’s people, businesses, and real estate. Our mission is to bring the resources and capacity needed to achieve transformative, inclusive economic growth for the south suburbs with a focus on investments in the Southland’s communities, industry, housing, and workforce.

We work steadfastly to connect Southland business owners, investors, and individuals with key resources to operate and thrive in the region, from equipping mid-size and small businesses in our Business Growth services Program with customized advice and consulting services, to helping local residents access the tools needed to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams. With a deep institutional knowledge of the Southland’s people, markets, and history and our multifaceted, experienced team, the Southland Development Authority is a powerful partner for any individual, business, or investor.

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