Tech-savvy Cedar Crest woman embraces digital age

Kathy Moffitt proves computers and social media aren’t only for youngsters

Created date

September 19th, 2019
With three laptops, an Android smartphone, and a tablet, Cedar Crest social media ambassador, resident Kathy Moffitt, is fit for the job.

With three laptops, an Android smartphone, and a tablet, Cedar Crest social media ambassador, resident Kathy Moffitt, is fit for the job.

Research shows that today’s seniors are often just as comfortable using technology as their younger counterparts. Kathy Moffitt, who does nearly all communication via email or text, would fit in well on a college campus.

With three laptops, an Android smartphone, and a tablet, she’s well equipped to serve as social media ambassador at Cedar Crest, the Erickson Living community in Pequannock Township, N.J.

The right person for the job

As social media ambassador, Kathy attends events on campus, takes photographs with her smartphone, and posts them on Cedar Crest’s Facebook page. 

“I like it. It gets me to more events than I probably would attend otherwise,” she says. 

In addition to serving as social media ambassador, she provides technological assistance for campus organizations, orders groceries, makes appointments, and pays all her bills, all online. She uses the My Erickson app daily to check menus or nutrition facts, refer to the resident directory, or see what’s on TV. 

“[My Erickson] is the best thing they ever did here,” she says. 

Cedar Crest launched My Erickson in 2018. The app gives residents access to meal balances, menus, activity schedules, and the resident directory from their device of choice. 

More traditional neighbors can find information on announcements in their mailboxes and through the community TV channel. Next year, the My Erickson app is being integrated with Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant, so those on campus can get community information via voice command.

Campuswide high-speed WiFi gives them internet access. Some residents use it to download books to their Kindle or iPad, others use it to Skype or FaceTime with grandkids. Others still use it to text each other to arrange dinner plans. Access to technology empowers residents to connect with others and find information that supports their active lifestyle.

Kathy’s lifestyle, for example, includes writing articles for Cedar Crest’s monthly newsletter, Mountain Matters; creating the church bulletin for the Protestant community at Cedar Crest, part of a broader interfaith community; and serving on the Resident Advisory Council.

She uses her dining room table in her large one-bedroom home as a desk for her laptops and stores everything neatly away when she has company. 

Not tech-savvy? No problem

While Kathy is not an anomaly, Cedar Crest caters to those not as technologically savvy as well. 

Cedar Crest provides free tech support to residents; they can call or email Erickson Living’s IT support desk for free telephone computer support, as well as request in-apartment support for a nominal fee. Erickson Living has been selected the past nine years as a Computerworld “Best Places to Work in Information Technology,” reflecting the degree of company staff expertise in developing systems and resources that support resident use of technology.

“Age is irrelevant when it comes to each person’s digital journey,” says Erickson Living Chief Information Officer Hans Keller. “More than ever, seniors are online and incorporating online activities into their everyday lives. Our goal at Erickson Living is to meet residents where they are in their technology adoption and, for those interested, offer opportunities to increase their digital skills as they enjoy an engaging lifestyle.”

“By providing state-of-the-art technologies and on-site support services, our campuses are an ideal setting for residents to utilize an array of digital devices (e.g., smartphones, tablets, voice activated assistants) that help keep them connected with family and friends, as well as for other daily activities (e.g., getting news, accessing social media sites, making purchases),” says Keller.

Kathy, who began her career as an executive secretary and held several roles in between—from bookkeeper to environmental claims specialist—says, “I find computers to be such a useful tool. It’s just something to make the work go faster. I could not possibly do all I do here without computers.”