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Brooksby expo puts technology on display

Created date

July 24th, 2012

Television directors and producers, iPad aficionados, radio amateurs, and Wii bowlers convened alongside other technologically savvy members of Brooksby Village for its first annual Brooksby Technology Expo held early this summer. Community members and guests meandered through interactive exhibits highlighting the far-reaching tentacles of technology at Brooksby, the Erickson Living community in Peabody, Mass., from dining services to the chapel, with both practical and fun uses. Guests gathered for a demonstration of FaceTime, a video call application for Apple devices. Dorothy MacDonald, who lives at Brooksby and founded the iPadders group, used her iPad tablet computer to call Chris DeThomas, Brooksby s AV/TV manager, on his iPhone. With the iPhone or the iPad, you can just go anyplace it s a virtual tour of wherever you are, Dorothy says. For Brooksby resident Bob Mehrman, who helped staff the expo s iPad table, FaceTime and iChat (a desktop messaging application) are means of communicating with his son in Tokyo a few times a week. Bob also helps out in Dorothy s biweekly iPadder group meetings. Every other Thursday morning, Dorothy runs a two-hour iPad instruction class, with one-on-one assistance and explanation of more advanced uses. Since it began in late 2010, more than 70 people who live at Brooksby have attended the class, run with help from Bob, Dorathy Stewart, and Eileen Twiss, who also live at Brooksby. Our residents are really, really up and with it, Dorothy says. I m just amazed my oldest student is 99 years old. This can bring the world to us, and we can go out into the world.

Interactive learning

In addition to demonstrations at the iPad table, guests toured the TV studio, where community members film and produce numerous shows; the chapel control room, from which services are televised live; and the fitness center, which features new, state-of-the-art equipment. The expo also provided an opportunity for guests to try their hand at some of the interactive exhibits, including Wii bowling, a simulated sport using the Nintendo Wii video game console. Some had never tried it and were surprised at how it works, says Eileen, who organizes one of Brooksby s weekly Wii bowling groups. Volunteers from Brooksby s TV station, TV919, also enjoyed the opportunity to show and tell. Passersby saw themselves on a television screen as they walked by one of the station s new cameras. It s always fun when the residents get together and we can show them new things, says Emil Beauchamp, who lives at Brooksby and works in the TV studio filming, producing, and directing. Three staff members manage the studio and lead its 150 volunteers who live at Brooksby. They ve kept up with technology, and we ve always had an excellent staff, Emil adds. Helen Millican, who also volunteers in the TV studio and owns an iPhone, says, I can t believe how it can change your life we re learning all the time. You have to be open to it, she adds. You ve got to go with the change or you re going to be out in left field by yourself. Expo visitors also learned more about the role of technology in Brooksby s woodworking group, the Brooksby Radio Amateur Group, and photography club. Visitors saw practical applications of technology at Brooksby in exhibits by security, dining and catering services, and the medical center, which utilizes electronic medical records. We re not a retirement community where people sit around in rocking chairs on the porch, says Bob. Of Brooksby, he adds, We re a very active group and it s a marvelous environment, making life more meaningful.