Aegis Living is the leader in assisted living thanks in great part to its cutting-edge approach to helping seniors make the most of their lives and retain memory function. The staff scour the world searching for the best health practices, and the communities are big believers in alternative and holistic medicine used in conjunction with Western medicine. The community at Aegis on Madison is taking an innovative step in the direction of holistic healing by opening its own in-house apothecary.
Embracing holistic healing and a sense of community
Aegis on Madison has already had a non-dispensing apothecary installed in-house. The display served to showcase the different herbs and fungus that one might use for homeopathic remedies. It was also a way of exhibiting the community’s openness to alternative methods. But with the help of the Bastyr University Center for Natural Health, the Pacific Northwest’s biggest natural medicine center, the community opened its own functional, in-house clinic to provide free alternative care. During an interview, Aegis on Madison general manager Rob Liebreich revealed that sense of community played a large part in the desire for an apothecary.
“We wanted the clinic to serve a broader purpose to the general community,” Liebreich said. “I knew about Bastyr’s clinics and the opportunity to have naturopathic doctors in-house. There’s a long list of organizations that want the opportunity to become a clinic in Seattle, and we just got lucky that a spot opened up.”
Aegis Living has actually had a long history with Bastyr, which has contributed to the development of some of its gardens, such as at the Aegis of Bellevue location. Together, they’ve discussed different homeopathic remedies and approaches to aging and memory loss that have been implemented to help seniors stay happy and healthy in their golden years.
How does it work?
The apothecary, which opened the week of Sept. 29, 2014, accepts appointments every Friday from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m., and appointments can be made through the Aegis on Madison concierge desk. The clinic welcomes both Aegis residents and people from the community in general. For every Friday afternoon, there are nine clinicians on hand, including experienced physicians who oversee the clinic and students who are very close (in their final year) to receiving their doctor’s credentials. They provide care for a wide variety of conditions, including diabetes, stroke, hypertension, digestive issues, arthritis, the common cold and cognitive conditions.
The Bastyr physicians and students spend a significant amount of time with every patient – each receives about an hour of time with a clinician per visit. In a typical visit, the patient goes through an intake, providing information such as basic health history and previous sources of care. Then, the clinician gets to know the patient from a holistic standpoint and determines the patients needs as well as the best approach to meet them. The treatment options include vitamins, minerals, herbs and other supplements entirely free of cost – Bastyr University generously supplies patients with all the supplements and herbal remedies for treatment.
More about Bastyr University
Located in Kenmore conveniently close to Aegis on Madison, Bastyr University is the preeminent university in the country focused on naturopathic remedies and acupuncture. The Bastyr Center for Natural Health is the university’s teaching clinic, offering care for people of all demographics and age groups. The center also offers a variety of other services, including nutritional guidance, counseling and acupuncture.
Leading the Center for Natural Health is Dr. Lela Altman, and she is also taking the lead on the apothecary at Aegis on Madison. With a doctor’s in naturopathic medicine and master’s in acupuncture and oriental medicine from Bastyr University, she is one of the brightest minds in the field. Her medical philosophy falls in line with that of Aegis, as she works to empower patients and provide them with education, guidance and support so that they can achieve health and wellness.
What’s in the future?
The apothecary at Aegis on Madison will continue to serve seniors and staff as well as local community members into perpetuity. Liebreich hopes the Seattle-based assisted living community can continue to collaborate with Bastyr on new projects in the future. For example, the natural health center provides nutrition services and cooking courses, exercise regimens and other elements that can be incorporated into Aegis locations for the betterment of senior health.
“I’m excited for and I hope that this relationship that is blooming with Bastyr will continue to grow.”
As for opening apothecaries at other Aegis Living locations, Liebreich believes it’s a possibility.
“I think there’s an opportunity to expand,” Liebreich said. “For most of our communities, we have a massage space built in, so it feeds that need for some other approach to relieving stress through alternative methods, and I think at every community we’re open to that concept.”