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Tech-savvy trendsetters

Use of My Erickson app illustrates growing usage trend among seniors

Created date

February 21st, 2019
Almost 80% of Windsor Run community members use the  My Erickson app on their personal computers or mobile devices. The app is also available on a prominently displayed iPad at  the Woodland Commons Clubhouse front desk.

Almost 80% of Windsor Run community members use the My Erickson app on their personal computers or mobile devices. The app is also available on a prominently displayed iPad at the Woodland Commons Clubhouse front desk.

In 2018, the top mobile apps included YouTube, Goggle Maps, and Amazon. However, for community members at Windsor Run, an Erickson Living community in Matthews, N.C., the My Erickson app, complete with a wide range of community-specific information, topped the charts. Currently, almost 80% of Windsor Run community members have enrolled in My Erickson. 

This reliance on information-heavy apps, as seen at Windsor Run, is a major contributor to the overall increase in online usage among older Americans. According to the PEW Research Center, “A majority of seniors make the Internet a standard part of their daily routine. Roughly three-quarters of [them] go online at least daily, with 51% indicating that they go online several times throughout the day.”

“My Erickson is part of a well-conceived strategy to offer technology to residents that empower them to find information that supports their active lifestyles,” says Erickson Living IT Applications Director Kerri Shirey.

My Erickson is available for browsers as well as Android, Kindle, and Apple mobile devices.  Anyone can download it from Google Play or iTunes and log in as a guest to review community information.

Daily partner

One of the reasons the My Erickson app is so popular is that it provides information on a wide range of topics while also being easily accessible. According to PEW research, “the use of mobile applications simplifies the process of getting online. The ‘one-touch-and-you’re-in’ accessibility is extremely attractive to the older population.”

“Our intent was to provide information for our residents whenever they want it, however they want it, and on whatever devices they use,” says Shirey. “Our extensive research with both residents and prospective residents served as an ideal pathway for making My Erickson a perfect fit to meet the interests and expectations of today’s and tomorrow’s seniors.”

The My Erickson app is free and offered to community members as they move to Windsor Run. It provides in-the-moment access to community information, messages, dining menus, meal balances, activity calendars, transit schedules, local directories, and staff information. Community Resources Manager Becky Dinello helps new residents set up appointment to better introduce themselves to the app’s many features.

“Windsor Run community members are lifelong learners, so we encourage them to practice and experiment with the app and to use it for whatever needs they have,” says Dinello. “It enriches their lives by providing the most up-to-date information on a variety of aspects and it is information they can take with them if they use a portable device like a tablet.”

Thoughtful planning

Prior to the first release of the My Erickson app, Erickson Living’s IT group wanted to ensure the app would not only provide community members with information they desired but also could be easily updated.

When asked how long it’s taken to create the app, Shirey says, “We’re still creating it. The first conversation was in 2013, and we are now on our eighth generation. It’s really fun to be innovative for a dynamic and diverse group like our senior population. We began with a group of about 30 Erickson Living residents who provided feedback. They were very forthright, which made it easier for us. Their feedback instructed us to keep it simple, easy to understand, and to provide important information. That’s what we’ve done.”

In addition to the wealth of information currently provided through the My Erickson app at Windsor Run, plans are currently under way to allow users the opportunity to sign up for activities through the app and add them to their online calendars as well as ways to utilize Alexa for voice-enabled information.

Helping each other

Although Windsor Run community members most often use the My Erickson app from their personal computer, laptop, or smartphone, an iPad with the app is available at the front desk of the Woodland Commons Clubhouse.

In addition, several tech-savvy Windsor Run community members offer one-on-one support to their neighbors as needed and teach two classes each month in the campus theater.

“There is tremendous support within our community to help each other utilize technology in a way that makes life easier,” says Dinello. “I’m excited to see what this program can provide both now and in the future.”

Top ten

The top ten information-rich My Erickson app functions (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 events, e.g., clubs, trips

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

9. My Messages: to obtain notices like community messages

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