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Retirement’s newest game changer

MyErickson app rich with information about life at Lantern Hill

Created date

February 19th, 2018
Icons showing different information available on the MyErickson App: community info, activities, dining menus, transit directory, fitness, community videos, local directory, my nutrition

Lantern Hill, the Erickson Living community in New Providence, N.J., emphasizes active living through convenience, activities and events, and proactive health care. To make the Lantern Hill lifestyle even more accessible to the people who live there, the community offers MyErickson, a proprietary app that easily connects community members with everything Lantern Hill when and how they want to view it. 

Excellent resource

The free app, currently available for download at Google Play and iTunes, provides in-the-moment access to community information, messages, dining menus, meal balance, activity calendars, transit schedules, local directories, staff information, and much more. 

“The residents at Lantern Hill are lifelong learners, so we encourage them to practice and experiment with the app and to use it for whichever needs they have,” says Lantern Hill Concierge Caitlin Sendell. “It enriches their lives at Lantern Hill by providing the most up-to-date information on a variety of aspects ranging from activities to meal balances. It is information they can take with them if they use a portable device like a tablet.” 

Bob Schultz uses MyErickson on his Kindle Fire and iPad. “I use the app all the time,” he says. “I realize I could print out a schedule or directory, but it’s so easy to get information from the Kindle Fire, and it’s always up to date. I refer to it every day. I also use it on my iPad if the Kindle Fire is giving me problems.” 

“Bob can often be seen walking around campus with his Kindle and finds that accessing MyErickson helps him to plan his day and build relationships by utilizing the resident directory,” Sendell says.

Sendell adds that several residents like to check the app when they are away on vacation so they can keep up with what has been going on in their community.

Years in the making

“The intent was to provide information for our residents whenever they want it, however they want it, and on whatever devices they want,” says Erickson Living IT Applications Project Manager Kerri Shirey.

“There is no doubt tech-savvy Baby Boomers expect web-based solutions to support their lifestyle,” Shirey says. “Our extensive research with residents and prospects has served as an ideal pathway for making MyErickson a perfect fit to meet the interests and expectations of today’s and tomorrow’s seniors.”

Erickson Living piloted the app at Charlestown and Riderwood, Erickson Living communities located in Maryland. 

When asked how long it’s taken to create the app, Shirey says, “We’re still creating it. It’s years. The first conversation was in 2013, and we’re on the sixth generation.” 

“Gen one went to Riderwood and Charlestown and stayed with us through 2016. The fifth generation was in June 2016, and that is when we extended it to Lantern Hill.”

Lantern Hill has had the app since the community opened, which has made transitioning to a new home that much easier. 

“All of the residents who moved into Lantern Hill during phase one had their MyErickson account activated by a member of the MyErickson team.  Initially, we set up appointments with each resident and visited their apartment to set up their account and show them the basics of MyErickson,” says Sendell.

Moving forward with phase two residents, her team will host activation days as well as MyErickson mingle classes to support and encourage ease with using the program.

Fun with innovation

“It’s really fun to be innovative for a dynamic and diverse group like our senior population. It’s easy to make assumptions about ageism when it comes to how they use technology, but we started out with a group of about 30 residents locally at both Charlestown and Riderwood who gave us feedback. They were very forthright, which made it easier for us,” Shirey says.

Their feedback included comments like: 

“Keep it simple, clean, high contrast, easy to understand.”

“Do not include any kind of social; I don’t need another Facebook.” 

“Make it rich with information about my life at Erickson. That’s what I need.”

“That’s what we’ve done,” says Shirey.

“The MyErickson app is part of an overarching technology strategy that offers information that our residents can use to create a richer lifestyle,” Shirey says. “They have the information they need when they need it and where they need it to do simple things like figure out their day or find out who to ask a question or reach out to a staff member or neighbor.

“I had a resident from Riderwood come up to me after a demo and say to the team, ‘You people make life worth living.’ My point is it changes things. You no longer have to search through your paperwork or your calendar. You don’t have to watch a scrolling message on the television. That’s a game changer.”

For Sendell, it makes her job more rewarding. “As a staff member who works with MyErickson and the residents, I am particularly excited to take the program as far as it can go and continue to help make it a part of residents’ everyday experience—bringing them information, pictures, and videos that capture their lives at Lantern Hill,” she says.

Top ten

The top ten information-rich MyErickson app functions identified (No. 1 being the highest interest) include:

1. My Meal Balance: to check on available meal balance

2. Bulletin Boards: to access community announcements, alerts

3. My Appointments: to schedule appointments for services like home maintenance

4. Staff Directory: to obtain staff contact information

5. Resident Directory: to obtain resident contact information

6. My Calendar: to maintain a personalized calendar

7. My Events: to view activities and plan attendance at Erickson events, e.g., clubs, trips

8. Restaurant Information: to obtain Erickson dining information, e.g., hours, menus

9. My Messages: to obtain notices like community messages

10. Clubs, Classes, and Groups: to provide club members access to club-related information