Part 9: Technology Connects Coasts

From the comfort of my kitchen table, I viewed the entire live worship service from my temple in suburban Baltimore. Bloggers, technology has such a positive impact for senior living. Communications Expert Margaret Rouse of Unified Communications explains:

Joan and Robin at The Village

“Live streaming video is content sent in compressed form over the Internet and viewed by the user in real time (not delayed or downloaded). The live event or show is viewed and heard as it continuously arrives on the user’s screen. If the user wants to answer, he or she may send a message via the Web site, or respond on Facebook, Twitter or other methods of interactive communication.”

I was able to view and listen to the entire service by:

1. Turning on my computer
2. Typing “USTREAMTV.com” into the Google search box
3. Typing the name of my  place of worship into the USTREAMTV.com search box.

Besides the convenience of sharing the event live while at home, why am I so excited about this Internet feature and what does it have to do with senior living? Two strong reasons: (1) The ability to bring the worship service or other meaningful events with me across the country to my new residence without a penny of added expense; and (2) the ability to combine my past with my future. Religion and one’s place of worship are very important to many seniors who face leaving their geographic location to move to senior living closer to relatives, or for health care or financial reasons. Live streaming video is one technology that can make the transition and change of lifestyle easier.

Northridge

Recently, I visited The Village of Northridge in  Northridge, CA, where I spent several days personally experiencing senior living. One of the huge pluses of The Village is its Internet Cafe, a large, inviting room with several computer stations and a printer station. Add tables and sofas to comfortably watch your favorite newscast on the widescreen television, while enjoying a beverage of your choice, fresh fruit and yummy cookies — that describes the Northridge Internet Cafe. As I viewed the worship service from my current condo, I envisioned myself at the Internet Cafe sharing the service with a new Northridge friend.

Many seniors may not have the computer skills to use the new technologies — iPad, iPod, iPhone, smartphone — these are unfamiliar and uncomfortable terms. On Joan’s Journey, I have visited dozens of senior living communities. Nearly every residence offered computer classes and computer availability.

Forecasting

As I conclude this blog, two unknowns are about to affect my journey. First, my condo sale offer will finalize yes or no  the first week of November. Second, Hurricane Sandy will strike the mid-Atlantic states from the South, in a direct hit with a cold front arriving at the same time from the West. According to Weather Channel predictions, cold and warm air meeting in this fashion form more than the “Perfect Storm.” Sandy’s being called a historic  ”Mega-Storm.”

I’m prepared, with my flashlights, medications, water, non-perishable food, cat food, hand can-opener, ice chest and charged iPhone and iPad. My children and I have a communications plan, and I’ve become familiar with the exits in my condo building. Which brings to mind an important senior living consideration: Does the community have a disaster plan, a generator, an alternative location and 24-hour staff to guide resident’s in case of an emergency?

I hope Nature has not put you in harm’s way, but if you are, be prepared. Until next time, safe journeying. To learn more about senior living and worship services, read our article Finding Faith at a Senior Living Facility.

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Joan London, a freelance writer specializing in medical and senior topics, is planning to journey to senior living away from the Hurricane-prone East Coast to the Earthquake prone West Coast.

Read part 10 of Joan’s Journey: Locations Shift Like Sand

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