The residents of a Pittsburgh area senior high-rise helped to celebrate the 50th anniversary of a Pennsylvania-based company Monday by rolling up their sleeves. Rite Aid Corporation marked its birthday by giving free flu shots to seniors across the country.
Rite Aid Pharmacy District Manager Brian Bobby vaccinated dozens of elderly residents of Town North Tower in Ross Township. He said the event is an example of how the pharmacist's role is different now than it was fifty years ago.
"In the past, we've been a medication dispensary. Now, we're a one-stop shop for total health and wellness," said Bobby. "Our pharmacists are educated for immunizations, vaccines, diabetes counseling, [and] medication therapy management. So, we're kind of moving, and we're shifting towards the whole health picture."
Bobby said he also gave free samples and medication counseling to the seniors, who he praised as the "most active audience" for a druggist.
"They're the ones that are actively listening, and they have the time to read up," explained Bobby. "They ask the best questions -- some stumpers, but some good questions."
Bobby said out-of-store clinics are becoming more common, particularly with immunizations for flu, shingles, and pneumonia.
Mary Lou Carr, an 80-year-old Town North Tower resident, said it's helpful for seniors to have a pharmacist on hand.
"Most of it is informational, which we need, because we don't get out in the world like we used to," said Carr. "A lot of the people have trouble hearing, so the TV isn't that advantageous. A lot of us have trouble seeing, so reading the paper, anything else like that.... It limits us."
The flu shot clinic was one of fifty events held nationwide by Rite Aid to celebrate the company's 50th birthday. The pharmacy also held events in Philadelphia and in Pennsylvania's Susquehanna Valley, where the company is headquartered in Camp Hill.
Bobby described Monday's Ross Township event as a success.
"I actually was offered to dance by one of the young ladies here, and I think they just thoroughly enjoyed the day."