There’s No “No” In Technology At Aldersgate - | WBTV Charlotte

There’s No “No” In Technology At Aldersgate

Aldersgate is a unique Life Plan Community. One of its physical benefits is its 231-acre natural campus. The community’s vision is steadfast: To strive to give residents their best possible day, each day by creating fulfilling life experiences.

Located in Charlotte, NC, Aldersgate is a community of creative, caring and intellectually curious individuals. The executive team is very involved in national and regional organizations that inform the “now” and future of senior living.

The Board of Directors and leadership have proven to be on the forefront of innovation. Among the many daily decisions the team has been making during its multimillion-dollar expansion was to implement Wellzesta – Technology that inspires senior vitality. It is a brand new application developed by John Robinson, M.D., Ph.D. and Kyle Robinson, an executive with more than 17 years of experience in marketing, sales and communications for nearly 50 Life Plan Communities across the U.S.

In its simplest terms, Wellzesta puts approximately 300 iPads in the hands of its community of elders and staff. The iPad offers apps familiar to some of the “power users” tapped to be in the first round of pre-launch training sessions – taking and emailing photos, text and even a few Skypers. But for those who have had limited access to technology, this tool can open a world of social connectivity and intellectual stimulation. Through their iPad they can check in daily, have two-way conversations with staff or other residents, learn what’s on today’s menu, make reservations to events and regularly connect with children and grandchildren wherever they live.

“By piloting Wellzesta, Aldersgate saw an opportunity to inform, shape and individualize the application to mirror the specific needs of our community with an eye to the future,” says Jeff Weatherhead, Chief Operating Officer. “It’s a means to empower our elders. But we are also extremely intrigued by the wellness and preventive analytics through Dr. Robinson’s Electronic Wellness Record (EWR) system – applied medical infomatics.  

That’s the data component that makes this so much more than just another iToy. As part of the training and launch, Wellzesta will work with residents and staff to set goals around the eight dimensions of wellness so important to vitality. The data science can be mapped internally, but also help build a nation-wide research base in collaboration with Duke University that will potentially impact every generation to come.

Jim Dishman, one of the “power users,” has stepped up to learn the functionality and train other more apprehensive users. “I have one son in Oregon and one in D.C. Despite the distance, they have always been involved in my and Jennie’s health. Through Wellzesta, I can make doctors’ appointments and download records to share. Needless to say, our boys are thrilled that we have selected a social community so invested in all aspects of our intellectual and physical wellbeing.”

Joyce Green is another power user. She was surprised to be approached since she didn’t own a computer, but did occasionally use the shared computer on her floor. “This is going to be fun and keeps our brains sharp,” says Joyce. “I was in the initial training session and now I get it out and spend hours on it most every day. Time flies! And I’m happy to help engage others to feel comfortable. It really is an exciting tool.”

December 2017 was about training and getting comfortable exploring the device and Wellzesta platform. But Aldersgate is range in the New Year by going live – Wellzesta is up and running with plenty of support as approximately 300 curious users dive into the technological world. Stay tuned for a Phase II update.

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