South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Al Lowe
Contributing Writer 

Touch screen technology coming soon to a senior citizen center near you


New touch screen technology is coming soon to senior centers in Allentown, Mount Washington and on South Side.

Information Age Technologies, Inc., of Mount Pleasant, plans to have the new equipment installed in several Allegheny County centers by the end of August. The cost for each center is $9,000 for equipment and training.

Seniors would use the touch screens generally just once a day to choose among prescheduled activities that appear on selection buttons on the screens.

For example, a senior might arrive at a center, scan his/her I.D. card and choose "lunch" and "bingo." Those who change their minds later can use the screens again to make changes.

If the seniors forget their I.D. cards they can ask center personnel to use a password protected feature to identify them and to sign them in for the day.

"Either way it is quick and easy," Cindy Glowacki, director of business development at IAT, said.

The equipment is being installed in the centers to facilitating recording of services and activities and and making it easier to report to the state for reimburment.

"However, it is time consuming, error prone and labor intensive," Glenn Brown, a supervisor at IAT, said. With the new technology centers will have the information needed for a data base.

"It frees up the directors and staff to establish and to coordinate programs for seniors and to write reports that might generate grants," Mr. Brown said.

By the end of August IAT will have made 100 installations within the state. The first one was installed in Westmoreland County three years ago.

"The program is extremely successful," Mr. Brown said.

The touch screens are 22" with large buttons and graphics and "have an attractive appearance but are heavy duty and durable," according to Ms. Glowacki.

So far the systems are focused on accurately and efficiently recording the needed information.

But the company intends to develop reports that will measure and record the activity of each center participant. This will help center staff recognize trends.

Semi-annually an e-newsletter will be distributed to each center to keep them informed of IAT's progress.

The company does on-site training at each senior center. Sometimes the centers just train their staff but other times the seniors get involved.

"We have found the consumers very open minded and cooperative," Ms. Glowacki said. "They adapt quickly and our co-pilot install team enjoys working with them. Installers come back with comments like ‘It was fun. Everyone was so impressed with the new system.'"

She said the seniors, for the most part, embrace the new technology. Some already frequent Facebook or You Tube or use touch screens at the airport, Sheetz convenience stores or in election booths.

"A few of the consumers are apprehensive at first but they adapt quickly."

The following are other Allegheny County centers which have either installed the equipment or have scheduled installations:

The Benedictine Center, the Jewish Community Center, the Hillsdale Resource Center, Lemington Community Service, Vintage Center, the Bedford Hill House Association and Stephen Foster Community Center, all in Pittsburgh; and Greenfield Center, Elizabeth Seton Center in Brookline, Chartiers Resource Center in Carnegie, LifeSpan Heritage House in Homestead, New Image Senior Center in East Liberty, Penn Hills Senior Services, Riverview Community Action in Oakmont, Turtle Creek Center, Greenfield Center, Homewood Center, LifeSpan Mon Valley Resource Center in McKeesport, Tarentum Senior Center, Plum Senior Center and Lawrenceville Center.


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