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Using Airtable to Assist the Elderly

Apr 06, 2020

The local Area Agency on Aging (AAA) is helping the elderly in our community to shelter in place during the COVID-19 pandemic by purchasing and delivering supplies to them. Employees of the AAA are driving around to purchase requested items at various stores, but they really needed a way to track the purchases that were being made. As a government funded program, the audit requirements are quite strict, so a thoughtful system was needed.

As is often the case, they initially considered tracking this purchase data in spreadsheets. Thankfully, a team member knew about Airtable and asked if it might be a better solution than a clunky spreadsheet. I'm happy to report that the answer was 'yes!'

We built a four table solution that stores data for Buyers, Clients, Purchase Orders, and Purchases. The evolving system allows for the Buyers to use forms from the field (using their cell phones) to record data about the purchases they are making. This data then rolls up into the Purchase Orders so that each buyer doesn't overspend their allotted funds.

Following that, I also recommended that the AAA store some training videos in Airtable as well - this led to a fifth table where they can record their screens for some training and then share it with the team.

In this video I mention ways to further automate this system - namely using text messages to the Buyers in the field. In these cases, a Twilio subscription would be required and text messages could be sent automatically via Zapier, or en masse from the SMS block in Airtable.

Hoping that this video inspires you to use Airtable in new ways to solve new problems!


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