New Bellevue business provides home care to those in need

After 28 years in sales and marketing with Shields Bag and Print, local resident Bill Merriman decided to venture out on his own. 

On June 5, Merriman opened the first branch of Synergy HomeCare in Washington. He discovered the home-care franchise after a year of exploring various business opportunities. Merriman was naturally drawn to the home-care business, as he gained an early introduction to public service growing up. 

“I have a passion for compassion,” said Merriman. 

For a time, his father was the police chief of Centralia. And, in his youth, Merriman reached the level of Eagle Scout, with honors. Later on, he attended Washington State University and graduated with a degree in business administration. He put himself through college by working at Safeway. 

“There are wonderful ways that we can serve in the community and (home care) is one way,” said Merriman. 

Synergy HomeCare provides in-home, non-medical care 365 days a year. The chain offers up to three different types of caregivers: daily living companions, who might play games, go on walks, work on crafts or write letters with clients; homemakers, who prepare meals, wash laundry, run errands, and do other light housekeeping; and personal-care assistants, who give clients that are minimally dependent some physical assistance, with such things as personal hygiene. 

The caregivers typically spend approximately 20 hours each week in a client’s home. The company usually responds to a call within 24 hours, starting with a home assessment to determine the client’s needs. Unlike other home-care providers, the business does not limit its services to seniors. Disabled children and adults, expectant mothers, injured workers and more may also benefit. 

“It’s amazing to me how many people have the genuine gift to care for others,” said Merriman. “I really enjoy working with these caregivers and knowing how genuinely compassionate they are about their client.” 

In addition to Bellevue, Synergy HomeCare currently has offices in Arizona (Mesa, Sun City, Phoenix, and Tucson), Sioux City, SD., and Houston, Texas. The company expects to sell up to 300 U.S. franchises within the next five years. Franchises are also being pursued in Canada, Japan, Europe, the Middle East, and Australia. 

Synergy HomeCare founder Peter Tourian started the business in Mesa in 2002. It has since become one of the largest home-care providers in Arizona. Its franchising began in 2005. The company suspects its growth is due in part to the nation’s aging baby boomers, hospitals discharging patients earlier and the increase of life expectancy. 

Merriman is responsible for the company’s growth in Washington and Oregon and will be helping Synergy grow throughout the Pacific Northwest. His Bellevue office covers the Eastside, King County and Snohomish County. His business is a member of Private Duty Home Care Association, Homecare and Hospice, Northend Senior Care Coalition and Homecare Association of Washington. It has Washington State Homecare Certification. 

Potential caregivers must pass an extensive background check for felonies, incarcerations, driving violations and child support delinquencies. They must also be state-certified in first aid and cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and undergo an extensive health screening that includes immunizations.