Restoring elders and their stories to the center of our communities
What do they do?
Elderberry is a family-built business that believes the community’s healthcare and elder care problems can be solved by patients and their caretakers. They do community-focused design and concentrate on working with communities that embrace elders as very important. Elderberry is working on two projects: The Pill Pouch and My Health Companion.
Who’s in charge?
Matt Sitek and his mother, Kathy Sitek
How did they get started?
Years before Matt’s grandmother, Stella’s, passing, she had a problem of not knowing what medication she was taking, and which body part that specific medication affected. So she refused to take her medicine, and as a result, Stella was frequently admitted to the hospital, which left things very stressful for Matt’s mother Kathy. They needed a solution. One day after yet another hospital visit, Kathy created the first version of Pill Pouch. She took a small kleenex box and cut off the back. She then added labels which described what each pill looked like and what it did. This design was later shared with doctors and nurses who provided care for Stella. All of them, patients, doctors and domestic caregivers, worked together, and thus the birth of Elderberry.
The name, Elderberry?
The name Elderberry derives from a plant used for its medicinal properties which can be found in North America and Europe. According to Matt Sitek, they adopted the berry’s name due to the fact that it symbolizes who and what they are, considering that their target community for aid is elders.
How did his education impact his career?
Matt Sitek does not believe that his education background impacted his career in the way he expected at all. After receiving a degree in engineering, Matt found value in his education by taking the engineer’s most valued skill, problem-solving, and using it to better his business.
As stated by Matt, he learned the tools of his career through experience and personal discovery. Personal experience and passion brought him to the forefront of a company which deals with health and elder care.
What I’ve learned
I could summarize what I’ve learned from Matt into two sentences, well, two of his own sentences. “Life is about finding your authentic self, and education should be trial and error [instead of one rigid pathway.]”
Want to connect with Matt to learn more about the Elderberry and ways of involvement? Contact him at [email protected]
Green Garage business-in-residence spotlights are written by Nehe-Miah Scarborough, a student at Detroit Cristo Rey High School who’s working with the Green Garage during the 2015-16 school year.