Pictured: In 2019, MPL residents 'graduated' from My Margie Training School.
The year 2020 has brought about more unknowns than most people could have guessed. Luckily, though, technology has been a saving tool for many people during the times of social distancing. Also, luckily, here at Marjorie P. Lee, we introduced “My Margie” tablets to our residents in early 2019. Who knew it would be so critically useful just a year later?
Developers specifically created these tablets for senior living communities. In fact, ours were designed just for the Marjorie P. Lee (MPL) community and our needs. They can also be customized for our individual residents. The My Margie system provides an easy-to-use platform for our residents to access entertainment and services and communicate with one another, staff, friends, and family.
Adaptations During the Pandemic
Just as businesses, schools, and organizations have transitioned to having meetings online, so have our residents here at MPL. Our book clubs, wellness classes, and chaplain services have all been virtual for months as we’ve been navigating the distancing requirements of the pandemic to keep residents safe. Using My Margie tablets, though, our residents have barely missed a beat! Instead, they’re able to socialize, support one another, and learn new skills.
My Margie tablets have brought entertainment beyond what we provide here at MPL. Residents have been able to video call with their family and friends outside of the facility when we couldn’t allow visitors to come to the community physically. Some have even virtually joined in family gatherings or attended virtual happy hours with friends inside or outside our community! These social interactions have been blessings for our residents and their loved ones.
Residents have even used their My Margie tablets to connect with programs around the country. They downloaded apps to view the Cincinnati Zoo’s daily Home Safari and learn more about their favorite zoo critters. Others have watched nightly streams from the Met Opera. As more and more organizations have made their programs and services free for online streaming, our residents have found ways to tune in and enjoy.
Other Uses of My Margie
Now, this tablet isn’t all about fun and games — although we certainly love seeing it used in that way! Residents can also use the My Margie tablet to request housekeeping or maintenance services. They can order room service or arrange transportation if they need to go somewhere. Their personalized phone book makes video calling easy, and they can add links to their loved one’s social media accounts, especially if they want to see photos of their younger relatives.
My Margie can act as a one-stop-shop for our residents because with a few taps, and they can see the current schedule of events and know what’s happening when. They can see the weekly menu and — when we’re able to have them — they can see what movies we’re showing on Saturdays. When they’d rather spend an afternoon in their room, the My Margie tablet can help with that, too. There are pre-loaded games and craft links ready for community members to see and play.
The tablets were designed with seniors in mind, and the interface is intuitive and easy to understand. There’s a help screen if they have questions, and all of the essential statistics, like battery life, are readily available. To ease our community members’ concerns, who were a little more technology-averse, we began the program with a beta test done by our least-tech-savvy residents. Within a week, they were pros — and they saw the benefits and were glad to have the tablets.
That enthusiasm is even higher now, as My Margie has served as a sort of connection to their loved ones and their friends within the community. COVID-19 has brought plenty of changes, but our retirement community has been prepared and finding innovative ways to create connections and have new experiences.