Riderwood Residents Using Technology Now More than Ever

September 17, 2019

Digital devices, apps and social media support community's active, engaged retirement lifestyle

Silver Spring, MD -- Riderwood, an Erickson Living developed and managed community in Silver Spring, MD, offers options for residents to enhance their lives with technology. People living at Riderwood can take advantage of high-speed WiFi, on-site tech support and access to MyErickson, a digital app that provides residents with easy access to all kinds of information about life on campus, including maps and phone numbers, messages, dining menus, activity calendars, transit schedules, local directories, staff information and much more.

These days, people age 65 and older are embracing technology more than ever. According to a recent report from Pew Research, a record number of older adults now use smartphones about two-thirds of people age 65 and over go online, with 75% of those going online on a daily basis. A full 67% of older adults now use the internet, which represents a jump of 55 percentage points compared to 20 years ago. 

Riderwood residents have found all kinds of creative ways to use technology to make their lives more interesting and convenient. Many residents use the Uber and Lyft ride-sharing apps for convenient transportation, especially if they no longer drive. Some low-vision residents use verbal reading technology to read books and other information. Resident Sharon MacInnes uses several online research portals for her genealogy research and will be teaching a lifelong learning class in the upcoming trimester, and resident Hannah Spalding leads a "Genealogy Through Technology" group. 

"Technology is incredibly important to our residents," says Amy Hahn, community resources lead coordinator at Riderwood. "We are seeing current residents who are comfortable with technology using it in new and innovative ways and then we have new residents moving in to Riderwood who are really excited to connect with their new neighbors through technology."

Trudy Downs, who spent the latter part of her career in the information technology field, is another one of the many tech-savvy retirees living at Riderwood, a not-for-profit organization, developed and operated 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. She is currently the vice president of the resident-run computer club, which offers monthly training sessions for Android tablets and phones. Trudy runs weekly iPad and iPhone tutoring sessions for her neighbors.

"For most people, tablets and smartphones are all they need," Trudy says. "People don't really need a computer because most people just want email, to look up things on the web, read a book, watch a movie — so a tablet is good for them."

Trudy moved to Riderwood in 2005. She says that over the years, her neighbors have become more interested in technology.

"I would say as new people move in, they are more tech-savvy and they are used to technology," she says.

"Age is irrelevant when it comes to each person's digital journey. 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," says Erickson Living's Chief Information Officer Hans Keller. "By providing state of the art technologies and onsite support services, our campuses are the ideal setting for residents to utilize an array of digital devices that help keep them connected with family and friends, as well as for other daily activities, such as  getting news, accessing social media sites, and making purchases."

Many residents now use the MyErickson app on a daily basis, which means they can find a neighbor's phone number, pay their monthly service package or check tonight's dinner menu, right from their smartphones. The app also has a function that allows residents to get to know their neighbors.

"Riderwood has been encouraging residents to create profiles on MyErickson, with information like their interests and past professions, and we are seeing many residents connect with their neighbors by finding commonalities in the very searchable Resident Directory on MyErickson," Hahn says.

Photo caption:   Trudy Downs, who spent the latter part of her career in the information technology field, is one of the many tech-savvy retirees living at Riderwood (Photo Courtney Coombs)

About Riderwood: Riderwood, one of 20 continuing care retirement communities developed and managed by Erickson Living®, is situated on a scenic 120-acre campus in Silver Spring, Maryland.   The not-for-profit community of more than 2500 residents is governed by its own board of directors, affiliated with National Senior Campuses, who provide independent financial and operational oversight of the community. Riderwood is located in Montgomery County.  Additional information about Riderwood can be found at Riderwood.com