Embracing Technology at Tallgrass Creek

September 16, 2019

Tallgrass Creek neighbors are information driven and tech-savvy  

Overland Park, Kans. – September 16, 2019 – As the author of nine children's books, Carol Murray is frequently on the computer in her sunny Overland Park, Kans. apartment home at Tallgrass Creek, a continuing care retirement community developed and managed by Erickson Living.

Before she began using a computer in the early '90s, Carol submitted work to editors and others in her industry via the postal system.    

"It was a big change," says Carol. "Now, I communicate with people that have to do with my writing mostly on the computer and use Facebook a lot."

Carol's colorful children's books are available in bookstores and on Amazon.com. Her poems have also appeared in several children's periodicals including the popular Highlights for Children.

"I've had some success but received plenty of rejections along the way," laughs Carol. "I write because I love to write no matter what happens, and computers make it easier."

Innovation at every age

Carol is not the only one embracing technology. In recent years, older adults have been the fastest growing segment of the online population. More and more seniors are going online and using Facebook, Google, Yahoo and YouTube. They are emailing, texting and blogging—and it is having a positive impact on their lives as they are finding greater opportunities to connect with family, friends, and others.

"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, said Hans Keller, Chief Information Officer at Erickson Living.

"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. By providing state of the art technologies and onsite support services, our campuses are 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," said Keller.

Virtual visit

Like Carol, fellow Tallgrass Creek resident Jean Tracy uses some form of technology every day. Along with texting and e-mailing, she reads the newspaper online, watches sports, and relies on Alexa, a virtual assistant developed by Amazon.

Jean even used her laptop to initially "visit" Tallgrass Creek.

"I was living in California and researching retirement communities in this area on the Internet," says Jean who moved to Kansas two years ago to be closer to family. "I first thought about moving to a retirement community in 10 years so started checking out places with continuing care facilities."

Along with amenities offered at Tallgrass Creek, including an on-site medical center, fitness center, all-season swimming pool, Jean learned about Blue Sage Pointe, the community's continuing care neighborhood, which offers top-notch assisted living, memory care, and post-acute rehabilitation care.

"A couple months later, I visited Tallgrass Creek in person and my 10-year plan turned into a one-year plan," says Jean.  "Now that I'm here, I love it. The activities are incredible and the people are wonderful. I do way more than I ever did in California."

Neighbors helping neighbors 

Resident Fred Olson is among those at Tallgrass Creek who order online, own a smart phone, and use social media frequently.

As one of 180 veterans at Tallgrass Creek, Fred uses his technical skills to assist his fellow veterans with presentations they occasionally make to community members about their military experience.

"I use PowerPoint to design visuals and photos that go along with the speaker's notes," says Fred. "These presentations are always interesting and I enjoy working on them."    

Jean, Fred, and several other residents offered more neighborly assistance earlier this year at "how to" labs where they answered residents' questions about their cell phones, laptops, iPads, and Kindle devices.  

The group also helps train residents on My Erickson, a free, digital application developed by Erickson Living that can be installed on laptops, tablets, and mobile phones. The easy-to-use app provides residents with community information such as phone numbers, messages, dining menus, activity calendars, transit schedules, and more.

"It's a quick reference to see what's going on or get questions answered," says Fred. "I use it all the time."

Nature on display

Resident Lila Martin has also definitely expanded her technological skills since she and her husband Jerry moved to Tallgrass Creek.

Lila's eye catching movies are shown twice daily on the community's television channel and feature photos she took of Tallgrass Creek's manicured landscape, native grasses, and plants. She uses PowerPoint and a program called Movie Maker to create and set the movies to music. Her neighbors love watching the beautiful images and they roll across the screen.

"The staff at Tallgrass is very encouraging about learning and trying new things," says Lila. "It's wonderful to have that support." 

About Tallgrass Creek: Tallgrass Creek, one of 20 continuing care retirement communities developed and managed by Erickson Living®, is situated on a scenic 65-acre campus in Overland Park, Kansas. The not-for-profit community of more than 500 residents and 350 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 TallgrassCreek.com.

Photo Caption: Sisters Nancy Davis (left) and Jean Tracy use their laptops and smart phones every day. Jean also helps train her Tallgrass Creek neighbors on My Erickson, a free, digital application developed by Erickson Living that can be installed on laptops, tablets, and mobile phones.   

Photo Credit: Mary Bush