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SmartSolutionPartners helps older adults take advantage of technology by offering products and services geared specifically to their needs.

Started by a mother and daughter team, Myrna and Risa Arin, New York-based SmartSolutionPartners helps older adults take advantage of technology by offering products and services geared specifically to their needs. Risa chats about how the company got started, and their mission to get everyone wired, from kids to grandparents.

How did SmartSolutionPartners get started, and what does the company do?

We envisioned the idea of SmartSolutionPartners a number of years ago. My grandmother, over 85 years old, was home alone. Most of her peers were gone and most of her children and grandchildren lived hundreds, if not thousands, of miles and time zones away. Loneliness was a grave concern. The challenge was, “Could I get her to stay connected to family and ideas through using a computer?”

Given her arthritis and low vision challenges caused by cataracts, she had a hard time using a traditional mouse and seeing the computer screen and keyboard. From this experience, my mother and I realized that there is an entire group of older adults out there who would gain so much from using a computer, especially the social elements of the Internet, like e-mail, chat, discussion groups, etc., if only computers were easier to use.

Beyond products on the company’s Web site, what else does SmartSolutionPartners provide?

Our team offers one on one, in-home computer training. In the NY metro area, we also give free seminars at community centers, libraries and adult living communities educating older adults. Two of our recent events have been at the 92nd Street Y and the Queens YM&WHA. Upcoming events will take place at the West Side Y and the Classic Residence by Hyatt.

Why do you feel there’s a need for what you provide?

In addition to the baby boomers hitting their latter years, the 65+ community is the fastest growing segment of online users according to the Pew Internet Report. Some reports indicate they’re spending more time online per day on average, than their teenage counterparts.

We see an enormous opportunity because computers weren’t designed to adapt to an individual’s many changing needs like dexterity, eyesight, hearing, and posture. Our recommended solutions offer affordable ways to modify a current PC investment to meet life’s changes.

What makes your company unique?

SSP is unique because we spend a lot of time thinking about our customers and what their needs are from the beginning of their experience with SSP to the end. So, for example, our site is easy to read and the text is large, the products we offer are well researched and/or designed to meet a particular need, and are available at a reasonable price point. We realize that many of our buyers are on fixed incomes.

Our site is detailed enough but not overwhelming, and once a purchase is made, our products ship in easy to carry, briefcase-style, reusable boxes.

To further ensure success, our customer service staff spends a great deal of time consulting with customers on what products to buy given their individual needs and answering questions after a purchase has been made.

What do you like best about what you do?

The best part is when we receive e-mail and success stories, thanking us for making a difference in someone’s life. That’s what it’s really all about for us.

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