Digital savvy at Springfield retirement community mirrors national trend
Springfield, Va. – September 27, 2019 – A recent survey by AARP projects that, "by the year 2030, nearly 132 million Americans age 50 and older will spend upwards of $84 billion a year on technology products." The survey goes on to report that 91 percent of those age 50 or older currently use a computer and 94 percent report that technology helps them keep in touch with friends and family.
Mirroring this growing trend, residents at Greenspring, a continuing care retirement community developed and managed by Erickson Living enjoy the advantages that technology provides in their daily life. For many, technology usage is not a new phenomenon but rather the continuation of a lifetime of exploration.
"Age is irrelevant when it comes to each person's digital journey," says Hans Keller, Erickson Living's Chief Information Officer. "More than ever, seniors are online and incorporating the internet and online activities into their everyday lives. Our goal at Erickson Living is to meet residents where they are in their technology adoption and for those interested, offer opportunities to increase their digital skills as they enjoy an engaging lifestyle."
Greenspring resident Marnie Arnts Lee began using technology in the early 1980s and by the end of the decade started her own home-based desktop publishing business.
"I am comfortable with both PC and Mac computers and use Facebook, text messages, and email to keep in touch with residents, family, and high school friends," she says.
Marnie also helps her neighbors by teaching an "Intro to Word Processing with Microsoft Word" class through the community's resident-run Computer Club. She also helps maintain The Village Bridge, a resident-run website and designs flyers for several resident groups using her laptop and personal software.
"I also lead bingo on campus and recently replaced the noisy Bingo caller machine with an app on my iPad," she says. "It works very well."
Richard Schmidt, a pioneer in word processing, computer-aided design, and artificial intelligence, continues to incorporate technology into his daily life.
"I send emails, Skype with my kids, make online purchases, and conduct online research," he says. "I also create on-screen presentations and design posters for several campus clubs."
Neighbors helping neighbors
Because not everyone at Greenspring shares the same familiarity with technology, the Computer Club provides an invaluable resource to all residents. In addition, the club maintains a recently renovated and well-equipped computer lab.
"The Computer Club provides all the technology resources I need that I don't personally have," says Greenspring resident Terence Kuch. "They also provide consulting and advice as needed, and offer excellent lectures and courses. Their efforts are appreciated."
The club also provides help with GRIX, the Greenspring Information Exchange, an online forum open to all residents to facilitate information sharing and communication, as well My Erickson, a free proprietary app offered to all residents of Erickson Living's 20 communities across the country, providing in-the-moment access to community information.
"Technology has come a long way in the 16 years we have lived at Greenspring," says Linda Martz. "In the years before moving here, my exposure was minimal, but I now own an iPad, a computer, and an iPhone and I use them all daily. I especially enjoy using FaceTime to keep in touch with family in the U.S. and abroad and I try not to miss the monthly Computer Club presentations. They always present useful, interesting, and informative material."
The technological help and resources available to Greenspring residents is part of an ongoing effort to meet residents where they are and to provide resources to help them get where they wish to go.
"Greenspring community members are lifelong learners, many of whom embrace technology in their daily lives," says community resources manager Janelle Cesari. "And for those who choose not use the variety of technology options available to them, that's ok too. Our goal is to enrich our community member's lives, wherever and however they need it."
Greenspring is a not-for-profit organization, developed and managed by Erickson Living®. The community is governed by its own board of directors affiliated with National Senior Campuses, who provide independent financial and operational oversight of the community.
About Greenspring: Greenspring, one of 20 continuing care retirement communities developed and managed by Erickson Living®, is situated on a scenic 58-acre campus in Springfield, Virginia. The not-for-profit community of more than 2,000 residents and 1,000 employees is governed by its own board of directors, affiliated with National Senior Campuses, who provide independent financial and operational oversight of the community. Additional information can be found at www.GreenspringCommunity.com.
Photo Caption: As a member of Greenspring's resident-run Computer Club, Tom Coneeney regularly teaches classes to fellow residents on how to make the most of their technology, including iPhones, Android devices, email, online research and much more.