Staying connected with family, friends

Technology usage mirrors national trend

Created date

September 27th, 2019
(Left) Manager of Resident Services Marty Bores and community member Lois Edelstein have been helping Devonshire neighbors set up and use the My Erickson app.

(Left) Manager of Resident Services Marty Bores and community member Lois Edelstein have been helping Devonshire neighbors set up and use the My Erickson app.

For many Devonshire community members, daily technology usage enhances the premier lifestyle they enjoy at the Erickson Living community at PGA National. 

“I can’t live without technology,” says community member Nancy DeSantis. “I use my smartphone every day whether I’m checking my calendar or using the new My Erickson app to look at menu options in the restaurants. My phone is a type of security blanket. I text family and friends in an instant. And hear back quickly too.”

“I use either my phone or my laptop throughout the day, whether it’s to make travel reservations, check the weather, connect with friends, or count my steps,” says neighbor Shirley Alley. 

Although not everyone at Devonshire embraces technology in the same way, Shirley and Nancy represent a growing trend.

According to the PEW Research Center, “A majority of seniors make the internet a standard part of their daily routine. Roughly three-quarters of older internet users go online at least daily, with 51% indicating that they go online several times throughout the day.”

“With the easy access to information, especially with a smartphone, I find it is much easier to get information now—it’s immediate,” says Shirley.

Sharing their life story

With family and friends scattered across the U.S., both Shirley and Nancy utilize a variety of social media apps to stay connected. 

“I have a large extended family, and I use Facebook to keep up with everything they are doing,” says Shirley. “It’s the only way I’ll know what’s going on in their lives. Now, when I go visit, we don’t have to waste time catching up. We continue right where we left off.”

Nancy uses Instagram to share photos with family in California.

“It’s fun looking at the pictures; everyone in my family loves their pets,” she says. “You can see a photo almost at the moment it is taken.”

Like Nancy and Shirley, Devonshire community member Bob Frasier also enjoys using social media. 

“I’m on Facebook, mostly to get news of family, and use email every day to stay in touch with friends,” he says. “I have an iPhone, iPad, and a Mac and am reasonably conversant with the technology I use.”

For Devonshire community members Artie and Margy Lynnworth, the connections made on social media and video messaging apps are essential.

“We have family spread across the U.S. and Australia as well as friends scattered around the world,” says Artie. “We heavily rely on free video conferencing through Skype, FaceTime, and WhatsApp.”

In addition, the Lynnworths maintain a private blog about their life featuring their worldwide travels as well as their move to Devonshire.

“In 1999, we had the opportunity to relocate to Chile in South America,” says Artie. “This was the first time in our lives that we were living so far from family and friends. Margy wanted to create a private family website as a means of sharing our experiences with those we love back in the U.S.”

Because website software was not easily available or as simple to use as it is today, Margy wrote the code for the Lynworths’ website, line by line, allowing visitors to comment and the couple to upload photographs.

“We have kept this website going for 20 years, updating it with thousands of photos and comments several times a year,” says Artie. “It has provided us with a wonderful way to keep our family and friends updated on our activities, including our move to Devonshire and all the fun activities and events we enjoy here. We also refer back to the website to reminisce on the places we’ve been and fun times with family and friends.” 

Increasing connectivity

This summer, in response to the growing technology usage on campus, Devonshire launched My Erickson, a free Erickson Living app offered to all community members. The easy-to-use app provides in-the-moment access to community information, messages, dining menus, meal balance, activity calendars, transit schedules, local directories, and staff information.

Shirley, Nancy, Bob, and Artie, worked with Manager of Resident Services Marty Bores to help Devonshire community members navigate the new resource.

“The My Erickson app is terrific,” says Shirley. “It makes life so much easier. Now, rather than looking through stacks of papers to find the information you need, it’s all at your fingertips.”

“Devonshire community members are lifelong learners, many of whom embrace technology in their daily lives,” says Marty. “And for those who choose not to use the technology options available to them, that’s okay, too. Our goal is to provide resources that enrich our community members’ lives wherever and however they need it.”