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Society is starting to realize that housing is core to helping to control variables that impact our health. If you surround yourself with the right built-in environment, community and people, your health outcomes will be different than someone who is living in a situation that’s not suitable for them.
The average older adult residing in either a senior living community or nursing home manages about a dozen chronic conditions, from asthma and high blood pressure to high cholesterol and diabetes. Whether you’re at home or in an institutionalized setting, these conditions can be difficult to manage. At Upside, we make it easier by providing our members daily check-ins and geriatric care management.
That means making sure members have rides to doctor’s appointments and reminding them to take their medications. We can’t manage people’s medications with our basic Upside product, but we can with our enhanced Upside+ service, which we recently launched in Boca Raton, Florida.
Many adults experience negative health outcomes because they don’t adhere to their medication requirements. If they’re not taking their medications properly, they can wind up in the ER. There are simple, small things that our Upside Managers can do to keep our members on a trajectory that helps keep them healthy. Consequently, if people don’t have that umbrella of support, things can quickly spiral out of control.
We also can deploy skilled care — doctors and registered nurses — to people’s homes when they need help to avoid an unnecessary visit to the hospital. In every market, we have partners who can provide that level of urgent care to our members. If they fall or cut their head, they might not need to go to an ER and sit there for eight hours waiting to be seen. Instead, they can call their Upside Manager, who will send someone to their unit within an hour or two.
It’s super challenging for an older adult and their families to navigate the complexities of the health care system. One of the main benefits of living in an Upside unit is that members have access to a home management team who has already done all of the heavy lifting in understanding the best products and services older adults need to keep them healthy. If one of our members wants to know their best provider for their primary or urgent care needs, their Upside Manager can provide them with that information and help them schedule an appointment.
Our Upside Managers are like air traffic controllers for all of these incredible services that are available, but people don’t know about or understand. Adult children or grandchildren don’t have the time or capacity to research and evaluate all of these things — and that’s ok! We’ve done the hard work already and want to help them care for their loved one. That’s one of the biggest values that we offer. The health care system only gets more complex as people age and as illnesses and chronic conditions worsen. We are there every step of the way.
With severe memory issues or dementia, it would even be challenging for us to keep them in one setting. Once they pass a certain point, it’s just unsafe to be in an non-institutionalized setting. But, sometimes, it takes a long time for someone to get to that point. Once someone gets a dementia diagnosis, it could take several years for them to become a wandering risk or for their condition to develop to the point where they can’t live independently. We can prolong that move to an institutionalized setting as a result of having that support system in place. If you’re a bit forgetful, we can help you. If you need transportation because you don’t feel comfortable driving at night or can’t remember how to get to your daughter’s house, we can arrange rides for you.
The services we offer allow someone with early stages of certain illnesses or conditions to prolong that independence without having to go into a facility, which will accelerate that decline.
Our Upside Managers also make recommendations to members to help adjust their way of life to help them live longer, healthier lives — things like exercising and eating habits. We have residents who like to exercise, but aren’t sure what exercises are best for them or are nervous about doing it by themselves. So they call their Upside Manager, who can help them develop a routine or send a Papa Pal to come to their apartment once or twice a week to walk around the block with them or help them perform basic exercises.
These are seemingly small things, but they are critical steps to allowing older adults to maintain their autonomy. It all goes back to being in the right place to make all of this happen. We say that health starts with housing because you can control so many more scenarios if you can control the housing element of senior living.
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