Seniors to take virtual trip thanks to Senior Star’s new pilot program


By Laura Katauskas | Staff Writer

Residents of Senior Star at Weber Place will be embarking on journeys and interacting with visitors throughout the world, all without leaving their seat.

Thanks to a pilot program brought to Senior Star, in a feature like no other to date in Illinois, residents are among the first to experience two-way, face-to-face videoconference programs that go well beyond traditional documentary style videos. These virtual field trips are part of EasyConnect HD Activities & Engagement solution, which is a program designed specifically to offer seniors who reside in retirement communities a forum to experience the world.

Later this month, Senior Star residents will visit The Paley Center for Media and the New York Toy Museum. Past tours have included remarkable places such as the: Memorial at Pearl Harbor, Hearst Castle, FDR Museum, Australia Down Under, Glacier Bay National Park and Reserve, 911 Memorial, Point Lobos Marine Sanctuary and Grand Canyon National Park.

“We are just thrilled about this—this is the next generation of technology, and what excites us is the potential of this project,” said Tom Johnsrud, executive director of Senior Star at Weber Place. “We foresee partnering with universities and the possibilities for adult education then become enormous and opens to such a grand scale.”

Johnsrud explains the mission of Senior Star in its crusade to battle Alzheimer’s disease is to engage and stimulate the brain through a variety of activities.

“This really expands opportunities to educate seniors and keep them learning something new,” said Johnsrud. “Research shows this is what helps reduce dementia–so we are just really tickled pink about this. We want to take every opportunity to provide for our residents.”

The virtual tours allow participants the ability to see, hear and interact with each other as if they were physically participating in the event. Each presentation features a live moderator who facilitates the question and answer portion of the program, allowing residents to speak directly to the presenters. The virtual tours can also connect up to four senior living communities simultaneously where residents are able to engage with one another in addition to the live presenter.

Not only is Senior Star at Weber Place the first retirement community in Illinois to use the EasyConnect HD solution, they are also the pilot program for the Senior Star family of communities across the U.S.

For more information about Senior Star at Weber Place or to schedule a tour, call 815-439-9955 or visit the website


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