Aribah Shah, a millennial student and intern with TowerView Health, spent a week living in a Brookdale senior living community in Florence, NJ. Prior to this experience, Aribah’s time at assisted living communities had been limited to volunteering, so she went into the Brookdale experience with a fresh perspective. Over the course of her week-long stay, Aribah found that the multidimensional experience opened her eyes to the world of senior housing.
Brookdale of Florence, NJ is an assisted living community that also focuses on support for residents with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. With only 40 residents and a good staff-to-resident ratio, this community is able to provide personalized care in a space that truly feels like home.
During her stay at Brookdale, Aribah got involved in both planned and unplanned activities with residents, including fitness classes, mealtimes, as well as trivia and card games after hours. She felt very welcome in the community, and quickly made new friends at Bingo and other group gatherings.
During our interview, we spoke about the future of senior care, and I asked Aribah what she hopes to see improved about the assisted living experience. Having the chance to speak with directors at Brookdale inspired Aribah with many ideas about residential and health care changes that may make life easier for family caregivers and residents alike.
Aribah noted that a personal touch is essential to a successful care plan, and that community directors may be able to improve relationships between staff, residents and their families by creating a more home-like environment in the community. Regularly updated care plans can also help families feel at ease, knowing that their loved ones are being cared for properly in community living.
During her conversations with community staff, Aribah noted that directors continually brought up their residents’ desire for autonomy and independence during the golden years. During our interview, Aribah and I discussed the importance of community transportation in helping residents feel independent. Many communities like Brookdale provide transportation for residents to use for medical appointments and day trips to local senior centers, churches, malls and more.
During our interview, we also discussed assistive technology and how it may help both housing providers and residents transform their medication management systems in assisted living.
The company that Aribah works with, TowerView Health, created a service that can help both caregivers and independent seniors stay on top of medication management. TowerView’s users receive pre-sorted medication trays from a pharmacy that insert into a smart pillbox. When users forget a dose, it automatically sends a text, phone, email, or on-box reminder to users and their caregivers. In addition to reconciling the user’s medications monthly, pharmacists will reach out and answer clinical questions like those regarding side effects or drug interactions, assist with medication refills/renewals, and address any issues related to the cost of medication.
Aribah expressed her belief that these types of assistive technologies can help streamline care services, while decreasing inefficiencies and eliminating errors related to mismanagement of medications. She noted that most of the concern surrounding care was expressed by families of loved ones in assisted living. Aribah believes that this new technology could create peace of mind for families and housing providers by taking some of the leg work out of the medication management process, especially for larger facilities with more complicated dosage scheduling.
Looking back, Aribah was proud to have learned so much during her experience at Brookdale, including the challenges that housing directors will face as the 65+ population grows in the coming years. ”I also learned more personally about what people want at that stage in life,” said Aribah. “I thought there would be a huge generational gap. But there are a lot of things that remain over the course of time and different ages,” including the desire for friendship, stimulation, and a sense of independence. Like Seniorly, Aribah is optimistic about the future of senior care in America, and encourages other millennials to get involved in the healthcare conversation.
TowerView Health is a medication adherence startup founded after their cofounder was diagnosed with leukemia. By focusing on simplicity and ease of use, TowerView helps the 1 in 3 Americans with a chronic illness better manage complex medication schedules. Patients on the TowerView service receive pre-sorted medication trays from a pharmacy that insert into a smart pillbox that can automatically send a reminder to patients and their caregivers. In addition, pharmacists will reach out and answer clinical questions like those regarding side effects or drug interactions, assist with medication refills/renewals, and address any issues related to the cost of medication. To learn more visit www.towerviewhealth.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.