Southwick seniors get high-tech

card scannerSOUTHWICK – The Southwick Senior Center began using touch-screen technology this week that will eliminate some data entry, allowing greater efficiency in tracking center use.
Senior Center Director Cindy Sullivan said the system was purchased at the end of June for $10,000. The technology was funded partially through a grant obtained by the Senior Center and partially from town technology funds.
card scanner
Sullivan approached Chief Administrative Officer Karl Stinehart about purchasing the system sometime in the future but the funds were available if purchased before the new fiscal year.
“I”m so grateful,” Sullivan said of Stinehart”s quick action. “It”s great that the town wants to make my job easier!”
The technology is used to sign-in seniors at programs and activities. Sullivan said every participant in every activity is tracked in order to collect data used for grants and other funding.
There are 1,982 senior citizens residing in Southwick and everyone who uses the Senior Center – even if it”s just for lunch – must be tracked.
“Staff had to input everything manually and online casino it took a lot of time,” Sullivan said. “Now, seniors can sign-in themselves with the touch screen.”
The system also allows for off-site sign-ins rather than making a list of participants on paper that would later need to be manually entered into the computer.
“So when we have our Mohegan Sun trips we can sign everyone in right on the bus,” Sullivan said.
Staff members were trained earlier this week on the system and they began putting it to use right away. Sullivan said there is a learning curve and staff are helping seniors learn how to sign-in themselves.
“I”m really excited about this,” she said. “It”s cutting edge technology for senior centers. It”s already used in Agawam, Holyoke and Chicopee, and will be used in the new Westfield Senior Center. This will make things more efficient for us, freeing up time we can spend with our seniors.”

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