Technology is changing the way we live. It helps us stay connected with loved ones—even when they’re thousands of miles away. It allows us to find nearby restaurants with the click of a button. More importantly, it improves seniors’ quality of life.
“Technology [can] enhance and enrich the lives of older adults by facilitating better interpersonal relationships,” says William J. Chopik, Ph.D., in Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking. Likewise, technology for seniors has been linked to better self-rated health, fewer chronic illnesses, and increased personal fulfillment.
Given these many benefits, we’re delighted to announce the launch of an exciting initiative at Marjorie P. Lee known as My Margie. Sixty-five residents in residential living, who are seniors who live independently or receive enriched living assistance, received a senior-friendly Samsung Breezie electronic tablet. Here’s a closer look at the innovative program.
Introducing “My Margie”
Communication is a frequent barrier to senior wellness. The My Margie tablet was specifically designed to remove this barrier by making it simple—and fun—for residents to communicate with each other.
Developed in the U.K. with the specific needs of senior living communities in mind, My Margie tablets are customized for both Marjorie P. Lee and our individual residents.
Starting at the user-friendly home screen, community members can simply touch a large Hospitality tile to request maintenance or housekeeping, arrange transportation or order room service. Users also have a personalized address book containing contact information for family and friends. With the click of a person’s name or photo, they’re presented with a range of communication options, such as video chat or email. They can also access popular social media sites like Facebook.
My Margie keeps residents informed about what’s happening around the senior living community, too. Clicking the Activity tile reveals a monthly calendar of events and the weekly dining menu. The Movies tile lets community members view a list of available documentaries and upcoming Saturday night films.
The My Margie tablet also puts entertainment at community members’ fingertips thanks to a Games link with preloaded online games and crafts.
Prioritizing Ease of Use
Every detail of My Margie’s design was conceived with seniors’ needs in mind. Labels on the case indicate how to handle basic tasks, such as turning the device on and off, charging and changing the volume. There’s also a personalized greeting in the upper left-hand corner and a button that shows recent activity or the home page. Residents can easily view the time, date and battery usage.
If a user does have a question or problem, they can click the large Help button in the upper right-hand corner.
To ensure My Margie was accessible to everyone, regardless of their comfort level with technology, we enlisted a group of tech-averse beta testers to evaluate the tablets before they were distributed to the rest of the community.
After less than a week, the volunteers were all thrilled about the tablet. That enthusiasm remains, even now that we’ve fully implemented the technology. “This is my first computer, and I’m so excited,” says community member Rev. David Lowry. “I feel like a kid on Christmas morning!”
Even those who were hesitant about the tablets are now seeing the benefits. Says resident Lillian Dartnall:
“To be truthful, I was not looking forward to receiving My Margie. When we were first told about it, I moaned…just one more thing to figure out. BUT, I’ve changed my mind. Margie is presented in such a simple manner that I find it far and above other technology devices I have. Namely, my computer and my Kindle. I am not technologically savvy and find Margie comfortable to use.”
The more residents use the tablet, the more familiar they become with the technology, and the more value they get from it.
By nurturing connectedness in such a meaningful way, the My Margie initiative is yet another example of Marjorie P. Lee’s commitment to supporting the six dimensions of wellness: physical, social, intellectual, spiritual, vocational and emotional.
The program would not have been possible without the extraordinary generosity of Pam Strayer. A champion of philanthropy in the tradition of her uncle and aunt, Charles and Marjorie P. Lee, Pam’s donation helped us take the My Margie tablet from dream to reality.
Says ERS CEO Laura Lamb of Pam’s impact, “It has been the honor of a lifetime to get to know Pam. I am grateful to have the opportunity to share with her all the tremendous good that has come from Marjorie’s vision and Charles’ philanthropic commitment and am proud of how responsibly we have stewarded their gifts over the years so that both Marjorie P. Lee and Episcopal Retirement Services could grow and thrive. Just like her aunt and uncle, Pam has transformed lives through her charitable support. What a joy to welcome her into the ERS family.”
If you know someone who might also like to be part of the ERS family—either as a community member or through a donation—we invite you to schedule a tour or request more information today.