Kiosk connects seniors and staff to critical information at Utica, New York center
A senior uses the touchscreen kiosk. Photo courtesy of The Parkway Center.
Visitors and staff at The Parkway Center, a senior center in Utica, New York, can access senior care information on a newly-installed touchscreen kiosk located in the center's lobby. The kiosk provides seniors with resources and information that empowers them to remain healthy and active.
The kiosk connects users to the AgeNet digital information network established by the Oneida County Office for Aging and Continuing Care. The network enables community and health organizations to share information such as events, announcements, health and emergency alerts, weather and presentations on health and wellness.
|The kiosk enables users to access the center's website.|
The information network was originally provided on closed circuit TVs in lobbies and community rooms at sites such as county health departments and Offices for the Aging, the YMCA and other sites.
An interactive resource
The touchscreen kiosk is more interactive than the TVs and will enable the center to serve the community more efficiently and effectively.
Users can peruse the center's website on the kiosk and download and print forms if they wish, or email information from the kiosk to their home computers. A senior might want more information about diabetes, for example.
The center received a $4,300 grant from the Mele Family Fund of The Community Foundation of Herkimer & Oneida Counties to purchase the kiosk.
"It's all at people's fingertips," Kelly Walters, the center's executive director, told Kiosk Marketplace. "It keeps them informed and up to date on what's going on. We're giving them access to (Oneida County) Office of the Aging as well as the New York State Office of the Aging that has valuable information and resources," she said. There are videos on subjects like what to do about exposure to ticks.
"Everything is there; they touch it and it has resources," Walters said. "All of our brochures are on there. The more education somebody has, the more informed they can be." The information is also accessible in a paperless, eco-friendly manner.
"We're trying to make sure we have information available in all kinds of different formats, whether it's paper or digital, to meet the demands of who we serve," Walters said. "It's keeping up with the times and being very progressive in information sharing."
Solutions provider develops software
The software for the kiosk was developed by Vizionefx.com, the interactive media solutions provider that developed the software for the TV content.
"They came from the health care world, and they understood seniors, and they understood the need to get as much valuable information to as many as possible," Walters said of Vizionefx.com.
The center pays an annual license fee to use the software and a monthly maintenance fee to update information on the kiosk.
"The system is as good as the information you put into it," Walters said. "If you keep your information updated, it's a vital tool for providing information and access to services."
"We're a safe source for them," she said. "We're a senior center and we try to vet things properly." Screening information is important for seniors who might not be able to properly vet Internet content.
The center's founders recognized the need for more information to help seniors make healthy choices several years ago, Walters said. The project was originally developed for closed circuit TVs at a nursing home and was extended to the center.
Some seniors were hesitant to use the kiosk until the staff showed them how to do it.
"Some are afraid of technology," Walters said. "This becomes a tool to introduce people so that they don't have to be fearful. This is safe. They can't do anything wrong. They can't go to any other search engines. It's the information that we're providing that pertains to what they're looking for."
More services on the way
"Eventually, we'd love to be able to do telemedicine through there," Walter said. They would also like to access livestreaming content.
There are plans to add kiosks to the public library and two area hospitals.
Touchscreen kiosks are clearly improving interactivity for care givers and people who need access to information to better manage their lives.
Elliot Maras Elliot Maras is the editor of KioskMarketplace.com and FoodTruckOperator.com.