Booting Up Tech Support

Trouble with our technology can shut us off from others and prevent us from accomplishing the most necessary tasks.

In a world where we rely daily on technology for communication, information, and services, residents are extremely grateful to have a friendly human being to help when they become disconnected.

A Resident Information Technology position was added to each campus in 2021 as a pilot program after Oakwood was having trouble with services contracted from an off-campus provider. Management approached the Oakwood Foundation to explore whether funds might be available to create in-house positions on a trial basis.

These pilot positions were possible thanks to your gifts to the Oakwood Mission Support Fund. The Oakwood Mission Support Fund directs unrestricted donations to the Oakwood Foundation and provides the organization with the resources and financial flexibility to address challenges and pursue new opportunities to improve resident lives.

To say the new positions have been a success would be an understatement.

“Having our own information technology person here at Prairie Ridge is one of the best things that has happened since we moved here over nine years ago,” Donna and David Ankley explain. “We all need help with our internet, phones, and TV, and Rob is just the person to solve our problems. He is very friendly, on time, and works very hard to please everyone.”

Rob Snyder joined the Prairie Ridge Life Enrichment team after working as a technician with a local cable company. After years as the “cable guy”,’ Rob appreciates the immediate feedback and gratitude he hears daily from residents.

“There are times when residents are feeling overwhelmed,” Rob says. “If I can simplify or smooth it over so it’s not a problem anymore, they genuinely appreciate it, which makes my job so awesome. I’m blessed to be in a position where others appreciate something I like to do.”

Not only do the Resident Information Technology positions support residents with personal technology needs, but technicians also provide training on Zoom, Oakwood’s Touchtown Community App, and Microsoft Office Suite. All of these have been essential tools, especially over the past two years. The technicians are also responsible for maintaining campus-owned equipment used for resident communication.

Bill Guetschow joined the University Woods Life Enrichment team in 2020, working with residents in assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing. When the Resident Information Technology position was created, his personality, experience with technology, and background as a musician and production assistant at a local television station made him a good fit for the new role.

“I learned quickly the computer will do exactly what you tell it to do,” Bill shares. “I’m not a programmer or an engineer, but am a good end user and problem solver.”

As a new resident to University Woods, Sue Ross was eager to set up her internet and phone. The Resident IT team stepped in to take care of her router.

"The in-house services were critical to my good start at Oakwood," Sue explains. "Bill, specifically, was a blessing. He stuck with the problems until they were resolved, and did it with good humor."

Thanks to donors like you, Rob and Bill are taking worry away when it comes to technology. This pilot program allows Oakwood to try a new concept and assess its value before adding it to the budget.

“We understand the growing importance of personal technology for residents living at Oakwood, as well as the need for support,” Linda Johnson explains. Linda is the Chief Financial Officer at Oakwood. “When our third-party provider was unable to provide staffing for these roles, we were fortunate to have the Oakwood Foundation fund these pilot positions in house. Based upon the feedback we’ve received, we will explore ways to operationalize these roles when the Oakwood Foundation grant expires at the end of 2022.”

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