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We can teach one another when it comes to using technology

October 21, 2017

This article on the Next Avenue website made me smile. A self-confessed techie, I realize I’m not nearly as astute as my much-younger friends and stepchildren or my younger co-workers here. The digital world changes daily and it’s a project unto itself to keep up with what will make my life easier and what services, software, and apps will help me market our campus better.

I see many of our residents on Facebook (“Like” our Royal Oaks page!), using Open Table for dinner reservations at their favorite off-campus restaurants, snapping photos while visiting foreign lands and instantly emailing them to us back home, and even beginning to “live on-line, not go on-line.” I love seeing the computer group emails, sharing knowledge and reaching out to one another, eager to learn more.

We’re launching a new resident portal early next month, replacing one we’ve had for just two years. Technology changes and improves so quickly that “the better mousetrap” will now be installed to make residents live easier. The robustness of the new portal provides a multitude of resources right from the resident’s PC, tablet, or smart phone, everything from giving digital “pats on the backs” for staff members, making Arbors dining reservations and picking their favorite table, registering for events and trips, and even finding new Bunco friends. Those not so intimate with technology can use the soon-to-be-installed touchscreen in the lobby (replacing the old-fashioned sign-up books) to tiptoe into the paperless age.

In 2018, an Alexa integration with the portal will be available to us. Residents who opt for this will be able to call for help in an emergency, register for a trip, make dining reservations, and other things the portal offers, all through the power of voice integration. What a wonderful world!

An “Alexa on steroids” is being beta tested with seniors. This little robot-like device takes the power of Alexa to a new level. Read this interesting article and watch a fun video, too, about Elli-Q. We’re reached out to the provider of the robot to get a few Elli-Q here to test–stay tuned!

Royal Oaks, an embracer of technology, is one of just four retirement communities who have been chosen to participate in a research study being done by Arizona State University. The National Science Foundation recently awarded a Phase 1 grant to a team of ASU researchers to start identifying “smart” technologies that could enhance quality of life and build a sense of community in continuing care retirement communities. The findings from Phase 1 will set the direction for Phase 2, when researchers will develop novel technologies and test them in local continuing care retirement facilities. We are honored to participate in this ground-breaking work.

Now if I could just figure out how to use my Google Assistant through Bluetooth in my car, I’d be all set. . . . for today, at least.

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