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Sharing the love

Tech-savvy neighbors build website to share their love of Wind Crest

Created date

November 26th, 2013
Bill Fritschen, Larry Carr, and Ron Poinsett

If you think anyone over the age of 60 isn’t technically savvy, you haven’t met Bill Fritschen, Larry Carr, or Ron Poinsett.

In late 2011 into 2012, the threesome—who all had prior experience building websites—envisioned and built an in-depth website for Wind Crest. Their audience was those who live at the Erickson Living community in Highlands Ranch, Colo.

With others in mind

The website contains information from all departments, like dining, resident life, and pastoral ministries. Additionally, it contains key points from the resident handbook.

“As we built this, we were very mindful of new residents moving in,” says Bill, “so we tried to condense down helpful information into one place.”

Additionally, they say they wanted a place to showcase the beauty and activity of the community they call home.

Now that the website has been up and running for more than a year, they’ve found through tracking statistics that it’s used frequently by their current neighbors, as well as new residents.

“In three months time, [the site] had over 11,000 visits,” says Bill.

The site’s most popular page? “The meal plan gets four times more traffic than any other page,” says Bill. Upon signing in to the website with a user name and password, residents can find out how many meals remain on their flexible or monthly meal plan, which is included in their monthly service package.

Other popular pages include clubs and activities; the Gazette, Wind Crest’s monthly newsletter; the classified section; and Resident Advisory Council meeting minutes.

Enhancing communication, not replacing

A recent survey shows that about 90% of Wind Crest’s residents use computers. With that in mind, “We realized that not everyone here has or uses a computer, so we never replace any form of communication here, just enhance it,” says Bill.

Other surveys and usage statistics show that older adults are getting more and more comfortable with technology. One survey, conducted online, determined that about half of the respondents use the Wind Crest website daily.

The website runs on Droid, iPhone, iPad, and other tablets. “We are getting more and more access through the phone and iPad,” says Bill. “I think there is a movement among Erickson Living communities to utilize this technology.”

Upon rollout, the threesome offered presentations to the community to increase awareness of the new resource. “The presentations were extremely well-attended,” says Ron. “Now we do refreshers every six months. And we’ll even go to people’s apartments to help them if they need it.”

Wind Crest Webbers

Though Larry, Ron, and Bill founded the Wind Crest website, they didn’t build it alone. A group of 13 neighbors formed the Wind Crest Webbers and includes Dick Coan, Jack Liggett, John Bergren, Henry Rice, Judy Fritschen, Annette Wolfer, Marge Inman, Merrald Shrader, Werner Winkler, and Linda Horn—in addition to Larry, Ron, and Bill.

The Webbers all helped develop different facets of the website, including reviewing all clubs and contacts, providing photographs, and writing material for the site. The Resident Advisory Council and resident life staff members also played a large role in guiding site development.

Today, group members spend about 30 minutes a day updating the website, so it’s never outdated.

Overall, the group says, “[The site] grows as more and more residents begin to use it and more and more ideas are presented for material to be shown on the site. So far, it has been very successful.”