OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital Senior Beat

What’s Your Reason?

OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital SeniorBeat

The more than 800 SeniorBEAT and “Be Educated and Active Together!” members share in fun, fellowship and education programs sponsored by OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital. With inconsistent weather and a large student population, being active and social in Athens can sometimes be challenging for seniors. Programs that provide these opportunities, along with education, offer an invaluable service to seniors within the Athens community.

One such program has led the charge to provide these services to the elderly within the Athens Community. Spearheaded by Program Director Joy Miller Upton, the SeniorBeat program through OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital is a free program for citizens of the Athens community over the age of 60.

As we unveil a new series focusing on the various reasons supported by the OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital Race for a Reason, we took some time to catch up with SeniorBeat Program Director Joy Miller Upton to gain some insight into what the Athens community means to her and how Race for a Reason has helped secure funding for her cause.

SeniorBeat Program Director Joy Miller Upton (left) talks with Rosemary Huntsman(right), at the 2014 Race for a Reason event.  Rosemary walked in the event and was 89 at the time of the race.

SeniorBeat Program Director Joy Miller Upton (left) talks with Rosemary Huntsman(right), at the 2014 Race for a Reason event. Rosemary walked in the event and was 89 at the time of the race.

Q&A with SeniorBeat Program Director Joy Miller Upton

What’s your reason for participating in Race for a Reason?

Our Reason is the SeniorBEAT (Be Educated and Active Together), a free program for Athens community members over the age of 60, which provides educational, social and physical activities each week of every month.

Why did you choose to raise money in this way and how has the race helped your funding?

We want to provide extra opportunities and resources for members of SeniorBEAT. For example, we used part of our 2014 RFAR funds to purchase 12 beach balls used for our chair volleyball teams, fund travel expenses for a speaker and purchase a new sound system so our members can hear speakers better.

Why did you specifically want to be a captain?

Because it is fun and inspiring!

How are recruiting efforts going towards participation towards your cause?

We are just getting started but as word gets out I know members and their friends will sign up.

Any fun things you’re doing to encourage participation?

We are talking about the event at all our meetings and publicizing it in our monthly newsletter.

Are there any plans to make your group stand out on race day?

Well, we make sure our members know they will have someone to walk with, no matter if they are turtle-slow or rather quick. (Last year we had walkers who ranged in age from about 60 to 90 years old.) Maybe I can find a turtle hat and a road runner hat for some of our walk leaders!

Describe specifics of your work with O’Bleness.

As program director of SeniorBEAT I arrange for speakers for our monthly meetings and history group and arrange for other events. I also work with volunteers who assist with researching books for our book club and restaurants for our lunch group, as well as members who play instruments for our singing group. We also have a volunteer who sends email reminders for all our activities and who coordinates our involvement in the annual chair volleyball tournament. I coordinate nine volunteers who lead our three times weekly exercise classes and arrange to keep them up-to-date with training and CPR classes (I am also an exercise class leader). I meet monthly with a 12-member board to discuss activities and policies. And I write stories, take photos and design the monthly newsletter.

What’s the most rewarding part of your work with O’Bleness?

Working with all kinds of people from the community who appreciate the resources we can offer them. I love seeing lively book club discussions, going to meetings where peoples’ hands shoot up to ask question after question of a doctor or history group presenter, lunching with people who love to socialize, joining members singing all kinds of songs at our singing group, and playing chair volleyball, walking and exercising with people who will never be couch potatoes!

What does the Athens community mean to you?

As an Ohio University graduate, I feel a special connection to both the university and the community. Athens means “home” to me. Although I haven’t always lived in Athens, it is my soulmate of places, and the people who populate it are extremely special in my life. I feel as if I’ve grown up there, and now I am privileged to grow older there.

Like many other organizations, fundraising through Race for a Reason was very successful for Joy and her team in 2014. After raising nearly $900 for their cause, Joy was able to provide additional resources to help make the SeniorBeat program even more impactful in the lives of senior citizens and she looks forward to making this year just as successful.

For inquires into how your organization can participate in this year’s event please contact Brent Culver at ohioraceforareason@gmail.com or visit http://www.ohioraceforareason.com to register and get set up with a fundraising page.