Brookdale Senior Living and EIR
Brookdale Senior Living is the largest senior living provider in the USA. It has over 1,110 communities, 80,000 staff and more than 100,000 residents. The history of the company goes back into 1970’s, at a time when the concept of upscale senior living and housing operations was fairly new to the marketplace. Today, the company has $5Bn in sales and is present in 46 states over the US.
The Enterpreneur In Residence (EIR) Program is quite recently instituted by Brookdale to open the doors for the most innovative SME-s. The aim is to offer these enterprises an opportunity to benefit from the exposure to the life in a senior community, while scoping out the best solutions for the residents and company. At the same time, it allows smaller start-ups like Sentab to receive a unique 360-degree feedback from a variety of people within the Brookdale sphere.
The EIR is a very competitive program due to the insight and expertise that Brookdale has gained over the last 38 years. Sentab originally came across the EIR program via Aging 2.0 initiative, and was selected from among 300+ companies to engage in the EIR week.
The team at Sentab was very keen to be involved with Brookdale’s EIR program. We have the firm belief that the role technology will play in senior living is vital. It has become quite apparent that the increase in the number of senior people puts the pressure on the cost of senior living and senior care. Furthermore, as globalisation continues, families tend to be more spread out in the world, which can make regular and cost-effective communication difficult. Especially for those who are late adopters to technology.
The two main areas Sentab wanted to explore during the EIR week was how SentabTV could enrich the lives of residents, whilst balancing the capacity to streamline procedures and reduce cost to organisations like Brookdale. The week at Brookdale validated our views in terms of Sentab being able to hit both targets.
Upon entering Brookdale South Bay, our community manager Dayle Rodriguez found that there was a delicate balance between the luxury of a hotel and a warm homely community. Staff and residents seemed to work as one to make their community a place that everyone enjoyed living and working in. During his stay, he got to meet wonderful people who were kind enough to invite Dayle into their lives. Because of this openness he could engage in open and candid discussions regarding technology, senior living and politics (he was also taught how to play 7 card stud poker). This was one of the key benefits to the program, it is a rare opportunity to get hands on experience of the senior community lifestyle.
During a conversation with Andrew Smith, the Director of Strategy and Innovation, Andrew said that his goal is to work with seniors, which we think is a very important ethos. From a tech point of view It is very easy to design products and services for seniors that are inflexible and somewhat prescriptive. Often resulting in a product or a service that is more patronising than helpful. Having spent time directly with seniors people at Sentab feel that we have a better understanding of the needs of the people we would like to work with.
The EIR week also reconfirmed our market thesis. The implementation of technology within senior living has a certain inevitability. There are significant costs to running a premium community and this is not specific to those who live independently or those who require additional service. For organisations like Brookdale it is imperative that the right technologies are tested/implemented correctly to provide residents with the best experience and to increase quality of life, while at the same time reduce operational cost. After completing the EIR week we have more certainty about Sentab being able to rise to that challenge!