Last week, at MHI Congress & Expo in Las Vegas I had the pleasure of speaking with the representatives of iCafe who were exhibiting there.
Of course, we chatted about what we did and I was impressed by what I learned about them.
Craig Bollman and Joan Thayer, developers of the Monte Vista Village Resort in Mesa, Arizona launched iCafe as a pilot program after “realizing that the industry would not have survived without keeping up with the changing needs and wants of the customers.”
“The iCafe is modeled around both a Starbucks or relaxed social center and the ‘Genius Bar’ at Apple Retail Stores. The Cafe is located in a freestanding building within the Village of Monte Vista and is open extended hours, often conducting appointments into the evening hours. The Cafe combines a social setting with hands on training and instruction for retirees in the use of applications on iPods, iPads, MacBooks, and other Apple devices.”
The iCafe brochures goes on to state “The relationship between the iCafe and the Apple Business Department was formed to insure that the instructors were both knowledgable and passionate towards the retirement generation. The average age of those attending classes in the iCafe is over seventy, and for the most part are intimidated by such forward technology. The educational staff, under the guidance of the iCafe administrator, has been successful in bridging the generation gap.
The iCafe keeps extended hours for walk-in traffic and condusts “larger workshops have been held that focus on APPS (applications) to travel home with, APPS for health and well being, the safety and security on the internet, and using Facebook. The staff is constantly presenting new ideas to keep residents involved such as the Walking Club using the iPod as a pedometer or teaching the iTalkie APP to the homebound to use incase of a fall.”
The iCafe concept intends to help community residents overcome their fears of technology and help them stay connected to family and neighbors at a time in their life when they may be spending more time at home, disconnected from the world around them.
As people live longer and more independent lives, technology becomes an important gateway to staying connected. iCafe is a product of two persons desire that their residents be able to make the most of it.