Senior residents using virtual reality headsets at Edgemere Senior Living

Reality Check: Edgemere Senior Living Community Uses Technology to Rouse Imaginations

Seniors and Technology Initiatives at Edgemere Senior Living

By Chris Santuae
Executive Director, Edgemere

Seniors and technology are often unfairly juxtaposed. While research shows older adults don’t typically consume technology at the same rate as younger generations, evidence suggests many are embracing it like never before.

Shifts in Adoption Rates

The Pew Research Center says 42 percent of today’s seniors now own a smartphone, up from just 18 percent five years ago, and nearly 70 percent now use the internet, an increase from just 12 percent at the turn of Y2K. Perhaps most telling, one senior in three is now active on Facebook and other social media platforms compared to only 2 percent a decade ago.

As more and more baby boomers reach their traditional retirement years, it’s safe to assume this tech-savvy group will only increase these figures exponentially.

At Edgemere, we recognize the role and immense potential technology has to help improve seniors’ quality of life. And some of our residents are helping us incorporate these initiatives.

New and Innovative Technology for Seniors

For many years, one resident has partnered with the Dallas Afterschool Network. Here he’s introduced students to Google Expedition, the educational platform that allows users to digitally immerse themselves in hundreds of locations around the world.

The success of the afterschool program is what prompted it to be replicate it at Edgemere. Today, we have four virtual reality travel groups that go on monthly excursions to some of the most remote locations on Earth — without ever leaving our senior living community, located in Dallas, TX.

Virtual Reality for Older Adults

Emerging technology like virtual reality allows older adults access to experiences that might otherwise be beyond their reach. We have an obligation to help nurture our residents’ curiosity and continue to explore the world around them.

Technology is helping us do just that.

About the Author:

Chris Santuae has more than 25 years of executive experience in the hospitality industry, including senior living, hotels and resorts, restaurants, and clubs. Prior to his role at Edgemere, Chris was involved with more than 30 projects on four continents, with his organizations receiving international recognition for service excellence and innovation.