In the Bistro coffee shop near the entrance to Evergreen Retirement Community, residents hunch over their smart phones, iPads and other electronic devices as much as their coffee.

“One of the neatest things the other day was one of the residents showing pictures of her grandchild on her iPad,” says Jeremy Yates, executive director.

Technology has taken hold at the upscale retirement community on West Galbraith Road and the adjoining Wellspring Health Center in Hartwell.

Keeping the community’s nearly 400 residents engaged—physically, mentality and spiritually—includes a wide range of enrichment opportunities ranging from taking regular trips to Florida and Alaska to embracing the latest technology.

With the recent donation of 10 iPads, Evergreen has begun offering weekly classes to residents on using the technology to stay in touch with friends and family members who live elsewhere, says Kristi Guilfoyle, director of sales and marketing.

“It has been a very active group,” adds Yates. “The technology is helping the residents become more independent and active in their families’ lives.”

Technology also plays a role in improving care in other ways at Evergreen. For example, room sensors can track residents’ moves in assisted living areas so if they fall or if there’s a security breach, help is on the way.

“One of the main reasons people move to retirement communities is for that sense of security,” Yates says.

Technology at Evergreen also can put family members’ minds at ease by providing virtual tours of the facility, according to Guilfoyle.

“It allows families to be a part of things, even if they are not in the same city as mom and dad,” she says.

The continuum of care includes: 42 two-bedroom, condo-like country cottages and 147 one- and two-bedroom apartments for independent living; 103 one- and two-bedroom assisted living apartments; a 33-unit memory care unit for seniors dealing with Alzheimer’s and dementia; and a skilled nursing center with 76 beds.

The community’s amenities include fine dining, a three-hole executive golf course and a heated outdoor pool. A bocce court is also located on the grounds.

Evergreen, which was built on a former winery estate that traces back to the 19th century and was then acquired in the late 1990s by Chicago-based Senior Lifestyle Corp., has undergone more than $4 million in renovations and improvements over the last three years.

Improvements have included renovations to retain the historic character of the mansion’s common areas, new flooring throughout the Wellspring and upgrades to the pool and parking areas.

“The biggest thing that differentiates us is the aesthetics of our greenery and the acreage we offer, which is a far cry from what many of our competitors have,” says Yates.