Matthews, North Carolina—A recent study by the Pew Research Center found that nearly two-thirds of those ages 65 and older go on-line, and a record number now own smartphones. Further, 67% of seniors use the internet, an incredible 55-percentage-point increase in just under two decades.
"Age is irrelevant when it comes to each person's digital journey. More than ever, seniors are incorporating the internet and on-line activities into their lives," stated Hans Keller, Chief Information Officer for Erickson Living, the developer and manager of Windsor Run in Matthews.
Residents of Windsor Run such as Maureen Hlavacek are certainly following this national trend. She moved to the community in June, 2018 with her husband Ron. The retired manager who served in Wisconsin state government has incorporated technology into her daily routine.
"I love the digital age in which we live," said Maureen, who utilizes an iPhone XS Max and iPad. "Accessing information is incredibly easy, and purchasing power, from clothes to groceries, is fantastic. Since we have many residents who are new to the Charlotte area, even something as simple as GPS on your phone is really helpful."
Innovation at Windsor Run
"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," noted Mr. Keller.
To that end, Windsor Run has invested in state-of-the-art infrastructure and support services. Through Erickson Connect, the community provides residents with wireless internet and phone services. Along with Erickson employee and Guest wireless connectivity, Wi-Fi is available throughout the entirety of the campus.
When residents have technology-related questions, they can call the IT Service Desk to request assistance. If the Service Desk is unable to resolve their issue over the phone, an appointment may be scheduled for an in-home visit by an on-site IT employee for a nominal fee.
Erickson Living's selection the past nine years as a Computerworld "Best Places to Work in Information Technology" reflects the degree of staff expertise in developing systems and resources that support resident use of technology. This year, the company ranked number 14 out of large companies (those with more than 5,000 employees).
Justin Trombetta serves as the Senior IT Site Manager at Windsor Run. "Justin is such a valuable resource for us. His role is critical in maintaining our network and infrastructure," noted Maureen.
There's an app for that
Earlier this year, Windsor Run rolled out a new app, MyErickson, allowing residents to access dining menus, activity calendars, group fitness schedules, resident directories and much more from their smartphone or tablet.
"During breakfast, I often check the MyErickson app to view the calendar, see upcoming trips and check the daily specials at our restaurants," noted Maureen. "The staff can update the app at a moment's notice."
Maureen serves as the Chair of the Technology Group, a resident-employee partnership at Windsor Run. They meet every Tuesday and Saturday to provide a digital helping hand to residents.
"We mainly do MyErickson app set-up, but we also teach residents how to change settings, take photos and videos, and navigate popular apps such as Uber, for example," said Maureen.
Creative with connections
When people think of "connecting" on-line, social media sites such as Facebook typically come to mind. But residents of Windsor Run have taken it a step further.
"Through the MyErickson app, we've created a 'good neighbor' list of fellow residents who will walk your dog or water your plants if you go on vacation. We've also added photos in the resident directory section. If you meet someone new at dinner, for instance, you can go to the app, put a face to a name, and perhaps make a friend," said Maureen.
"We continue to explore new possibilities."
About Windsor Run: Windsor Run, situated on a scenic 60-acre campus in Matthews, North Carolina, is one of 20 continuing care retirement communities developed and managed by Erickson Living®. The community is home to 330 residents who are supported by a team of more than 110 employees. Additional information about Windsor Run can be found at WindsorRunCommunity.com.