Atlantic Shores Retirement Community in Virginia Beach, VA, has begun the first phase of its ASpire technology initiative, connecting residents with each other and the world using wireless Internet, indoors and outdoors, anywhere within the 100-acre community.

The project created an enterprise-grade IT network rather than contracting with a local Internet service provider as many residential facilities allow their residents to do. ASpire, therefore, also will offer residents additional medical, security, location based services and entertainment. Future enhancement may include integration of telephone, television and Internet services. When fully integrated, according to Atlantic Shores, it will be among the first resident-governed cooperative model senior living communities in the country offering a campus-wide system encompassing multiple buildings and outdoor spaces.

“We wanted to create a high-tech / high-touch environment of social connectedness, exploration, preventative technologies and safety,” said Atlantic Shores General Manager Eden Jones. Jones, Atlantic Shores’ Managing Director of Finance Jenny Maugeri and chief IT consultant Chuck Jacques spent more than four years bringing the project to fruition, working with outside vendors along the way.

As part of the program, Atlantic Shores has launched a corresponding app. Featuring one-touch emergency dial, the app works anywhere that has access to a wireless network, an added security benefit. A companion component is also accessible via the app, computer, tablet or smartphone. The app is available to all Atlantic Shores staff, residents, family and friends and features news and events, an online marketplace, games and a member forum.

The project’s first phase, including all common areas of Atlantic Shores’ clubhouse, administrative offices and the community’s Seaside Skilled Nursing Center and Harbourway Assisted Living Facility, was completed in October. Residents had their first chance to experience the initiative at an Oct. 20 launch party, where vendor representatives provided one-on-one training and technology assistance for residents’ smartphones and tablets. Ongoing support programs are planned to boost resident excitement about the initiative and assist them in exploring possibilities.