There’s an app for that

New app gives Oak Crest residents wealth of info at their fingertips

Created date

March 19th, 2019
Screen shots of the My Erickson App

Screen shots of the My Erickson App

For the last five decades, when you wanted to send flowers or needed a plumber, you let your fingers do the walking and pulled out the Yellow Pages, the household name in telephone directories. But this January, the United Kingdom’s version of the Yellow Pages, Yell, printed their last paper directory and went completely digital. 

And they’re not alone. Whether ordering a pizza or searching for a hotel, these days you would be hard pressed to find a business that isn’t online. Even Americans raised on the Yellow Pages are embracing technology. Oak Crest residents now have easy access to all kinds of information, through My Erickson, a free digital app that provides everything they need to know about the Parkville, Md., Erickson Living community.

Valuable resource

At the touch of a button on her smartphone or tablet, Barbara Zorn can see what is on the menu at one of seven restaurants on site at Oak Crest. While there, she can also access nutrition information for each dish and check her meal plan balance.

“I use the app many times a day,” says Barbara. “I can check the current day’s activities. Menus for each restaurant are posted each day so I can decide what I want for dinner long before dinnertime arrives, and the nutrition section provides information on calories, allergies, and special dietary limitations, such as no salt and no sugar. I can also see how many meals I have remaining in my meal plan for the current month.”

But there’s more to the My Erickson app than just dining information. Community members have access to event and activity calendars, group fitness schedules, resident and staff directories, shuttle schedules, and volunteer opportunities, all at the touch of a button.

“I like having the convenience of the resident directory readily available,” says Barbara. “If I’m working on sending an email, all I have to do is look up the resident or staff member’s name on my device—no more getting the hard copy of the directory from my bookshelf.

“I also like that the full week’s schedule for our in-house television programming, as well as information for our On Demand network is available,” she continues. “It’s so easy to get the times and titles of daily programs in just a couple of clicks, and I can also search for a program I missed.”

Available for download on Google Play and iTunes, the free app is accessible to everyone, community member or not. Those outside the community can make a guest account to preview the offerings and Oak Crest residents have full access on their tablets, laptops, or personal computers. Once an Oak Crest resident signs up for a My Erickson account, a staff member helps them activate their account and download the app. Joshua Runkles, Oak Crest’s in-house television studio manager, is one of those staff members.

“The residents love the My Erickson app,” says Runkles. “They like that everything is in one place and easy to find. One neat feature is that in the resident directory you can create a bio about yourself with your hobbies and interests so that if, for example, you play bocce and want to form a group, you can search for others who also play.”

Resident volunteers, like Barbara who cofounded the Oak Crest iPad Users Group, serve as trainers, helping fellow neighbors navigate the app for the first time.

Visitors to My Erickson can access general information such as Daily Happenings, but for privacy and security, content such as the Resident Directory are only accessible to those who have an account. Currently about 500 of the 2,000 independent living residents at Oak Crest are signed up to use the app.

Game changer

“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 Director of Information Technology Systems Kerri Shirey.

“There is no doubt that tech-savvy Baby Boomers expect web-based solutions to support their lifestyle,” Shirey says. “Our extensive research with current and future community members has 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.”

Large type and an intuitive interface make the app easy to use, and the wealth of information accessible with a tap of the screen makes it an invaluable resource.

“The My Erickson app is part of an overarching technology strategy that offers information our residents can use to create a richer lifestyle,” Shirey says. “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.”

Barbara couldn’t be more satisfied with the My Erickson app and looks forward to additional new icons to use. She says, “In my opinion, this is one of the finest amenities Erickson could ever provide.”