Senior center director says she loves coming to work
As she begins her fourth month as director of the Woodford County Senior Citizens Center, Judy Beckley says her biggest challenge is getting more people – age 60 years and up – to participate in activities, services and programs offered by the senior center. She wants more seniors from the baby boomer generation and those living in rural areas of the county to start coming to the center, located near the Falling Springs Arts and Recreation Center in the Woodford County Park. “We want the community to use the building more than it’s being used now,” says Beckley. In addition to enjoying hot lunches on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays in the center’s dining room, seniors may use an exercise room, play a game or two of pool, and borrow a book from the library during regular operating hours of Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Beckley says. “People donate (books) to us (and) we give back to the community,” says Beckley. Transportation services are offered to seniors on Tuesdays and Thursdays for doctor and hair appointments as well as errands and trips to the grocery store. Services at the Woodford County Senior Citizens Center are offered at no cost, with a suggested donation of $3 for transportation and $2.50 for lunch. “We’re here to help people,” says Beckley. “We’re here not (for people) to just come in and play bingo.” Tai Chi classes are offered on Friday mornings (through Jan. 15) for physical well-being. And educational programs are offered to keep seniors informed about their health and topics such as frozen food safety, scheduled on Friday, Jan. 29. Beckley says she also wants to provide more opportunities for seniors to get out into their community. She cites a recent visit to CastlePost on Lexington Road as one example of a fun activity made possible with the support of a local partner, the Woodford County Conservation District. Without its dedicated volunteers, providing an array of services to local seniors – such as meal deliveries for home-bound clients – would be a struggle for her limited staff, Beckley says. Vickie Bingham has been a volunteer bus driver for many years, “and she’s just wonderful,” says Beckley. She says churches also provide volunteers for services, including meal deliveries. Donations are accepted from anyone who wants to support the Woodford County Senior Citizens Center and its programs. “We appreciate every penny,” says Beckley. “Everything that is donated in Woodford County stays in our Woodford County center,” she adds. A collection of donated walkers, wheelchairs and other home-aid equipment are also available to those who need them – at no cost. “That’s my goal,” explains Beckley, “… to make the community more aware of what we have to offer.” Before becoming director of the Woodford County Senior Citizens Center last October, Beckley spent a year as the senior center’s aging assistant. She credits her mom and grandmother – both regulars at their local senior centers – for putting her on a path to join her second family at the Woodford County Senior Citizens Center. “I love coming to work. This is one of the most fulfilling jobs I’ve ever had,” says Beckley, who spent 18 years as a Community Action family service worker before coming to the senior center. She and her husband, Charles, have a daughter and three grandchildren.