Residents, staff reap rewards from retirement community's smartphone app

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Peconic Landing's 'Community Life' app was named 2017 Innovation of the Year by LeadingAge New York.
Peconic Landing's 'Community Life' app was named 2017 Innovation of the Year by LeadingAge New York.

Leaders at a New York continuing care retirement community say the community's smartphone app is bringing convenience to residents and enabling staff members to spend more time with them.

The “Community Life” app, launched by Peconic Landing in November, was designed in-house as a way to inform residents of retirement community happenings and events to streamline communication efforts and department operations. It is updated daily.

“We wanted to create a ‘go-to' guide for everything our community has to offer and inspire our members to become more active participants in their community,” Patricia Lutzky, vice president of resident services at the Greenport, NY, community, said in a statement. “What we created is a custom tool that allows members to plan their day, providing information on everything from wellness classes and meal menus to a messaging system for contacting different departments.”

The application is available for iPhone and Android operating systems. So far, more than half of community residents have downloaded it.

“With the influx of baby boomers, we had to adapt to the changing needs of our members who wanted to have access to information at any time,” said Mia Carroll, Peconic Landing communications specialist. “Our members took to the app immediately. They are engaged and use many of its unique features daily.”

Since its debut, more than 500 work orders have been submitted, 35 transportations requests have been made and 70 member leave requests have been filed, according to the community.

“These numbers translate to hours of human resources that would otherwise be spent on the phone or head down at a computer,” said Robert J. Syron, president and CEO of Peconic Landing. “That leaves more time for face-to-face interaction with members, a quicker turnaround on each member's request and a serious jump in efficiency community-wide.”

Syron said he believes that, over time, an increasing number of senior living communities will use mobile technology to communicate with residents.

“This concept keeps members connected but also adds to quality of life,” he said. “Its streamlined effect on operations is a wonderful plus that we will continue to explore.”

LeadingAge New York recently took notice of the community's effort, naming the app its 2017 Innovation of the Year on June 21. The honor is given to organizations that use creative problem-solving to improve quality and access to services for seniors.

“The creation and deployment of this ‘Community Life' application is the type of innovation that will ensure Peconic Landing and other like-minded innovative communities will survive and thrive,” said LeadingAge New York EVP Dan Heim, who presented the award.

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