INVALUABLE: A PERSONAL IT GEEK SQUAD

Barbara Borreck remembers being impressed by the friendliness and amenities at Henry Ford Village during a visit one December day several years ago. Now a resident of the 35-acre senior living community, Borreck is particularly grateful for one of those amenities – technology support.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to alter life as we know it, seniors are much more likely to be spending more time at home and rely on electronic methods to stay connected with the world around them. Many HFV residents own computers, smart TV sets, and streaming media devices that can sometimes be a challenge to get to work properly.

Borreck praised HFV’s Information Technology Services program for residents, and the availability and convenience of onsite staffers Gabe Engler and Ken Masty for helping residents navigate the vast digital array of technology.“I have observed friends (outside of HFV) struggling when their systems go down and (their service providers) can’t help or are inundated with calls,” she stated. “Fortunately, that’s not the case here.”

Next to security, having in-house tech support is high on Borreck’s list of essential services provided by HFV. She added that because Engler and Masty are very familiar with residents and their technical systems, their service is truly second to none. “I can’t tell you how often they have rescued me,” she wrote. “Gabe has even done ‘research’ on his own time to get my Bose and Apple systems to talk to each other – civilly. What a great resource they are.”

In 2018, HFV decided to create and manage its own in-house Wi-Fi network. The IT Services team purchased all new equipment and designed a network specifically tailored to resident and business needs.

Masty reports that over the last several months, the network is handling increased demand very well. “With our residents spending more time at home, their reliance on technology has increased dramatically,” he said. “The community is offering residents the choice of attending events and programs via Zoom, so now an array of exclusive fitness programs, seminars, entertainers, and even happy hour are all available from the convenience of one’s own comfy chair, smartphone, or computer screen.”

“Installing a webcam to use with Zoom, a new laptop… (dealing with) expired accounts, forgotten passwords, Alexa, etc., we’re in a position to provide that convenient hands-on service,” he added.

He and Engler schedule time with the resident to set things up and give a tutorial, Masty added. They also routinely field questions from residents about equipment recommendations and/or compatibility concerns. Masty said he and Engler are “tech geeks at heart” and won’t hesitate to go the extra mile to find a solution to a problem. Both realize how technology can be challenging.
HFV resident Kathryn Scudder recently had several problems with her electronic equipment that were promptly rectified by Masty and Engler.

“Because we are Zooming so many activities and programs within the community, I wanted to get something to enable me to better take part in the programs,” Scudder wrote in an e-mail. “Their help, courtesy, and kindness represent what makes our staff great.”