Senior Action: A Resource for Healthy Aging in Greenville

Ten years ago, Young Daniel, a retired Greenville businessman, visited Senior Action for the first time. Senior Action is a Greenville nonprofit dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for seniors by providing access to programs and activities that enhance their physical, emotional and social well-being. Daniel reached out to the organization because he was looking for a new hobby and had heard that Senior Action was offering watercolor painting classes. Shortly after his first visit, Daniel learned about the wide array of services that Senior Action provides. A decade later, he continues to be actively involved with Senior Action, reflecting on how his life has been enriched by many of their programs.

Senior Action was founded in 1967 after five downtown churches came together and partnered with the City of Greenville and Greenville County to form an organization that would promote healthy aging for seniors. Senior Action was the first organization of its kind in the state and is designated by the State of South Carolina as the “Council on Aging” for Greenville County. Today, the group serves more than 4,000 seniors in the county.

Through activities supporting wellness, financial security, and quality of life coupled with providing daily meals, transportation, non-medical home care and lifelong learning opportunities, Senior Action facilitates life-enriching activities and fosters social interaction for seniors. “They emphasize the importance of maintaining a social network,” states Daniel. “This has helped many seniors not become isolated.”

Daniel has personally benefitted from Senior Action’s exercise groups and computer classes. “Senior Action helps you gain skills that you may not have picked up previously in life,” Daniel states. “I especially enjoy my exercise group which meets three times a week. We do very light exercises, some are done sitting in chairs. But what’s most enjoyable is the social exchange within this group.”

Daniel agrees that one’s personal health and stamina can be greatly improved by remaining active and staying connected to a social network. He states that anyone, regardless of age, can boost their physical and mental well-being through the types of activities that Senior Action provides.

Daniel admits that his personal favorite is the watercolor group that meets on Wednesdays. “Two very fine ladies volunteer their time and conduct video instructions to help us improve our techniques. They also arrange the use of the facilities and the times that we meet.”

The result of this diligence can be seen every year in the art shows around town that exhibit the students’ work, such as the annual Art in the Park, where students’ paintings are displayed. As Daniel says, “This is a wonderful example of what happens when a relatively small group like Senior Action sets their mind to do something that has an impact on an entire community.”

Debbie Nelson

Debbie Nelson is the president and founder of DNA Creative Communications, a woman-owned public relations and inspirational marketing firm for nonprofit organizations. Under Debbie’s leadership, in 2010 DNA founded Shine the Light Nonprofit Forums, an annual training program for Greenville nonprofits in partnership with the Community Foundation of Greenville County, the United Way of Greenville County and the Hollingsworth Funds. To support other nonprofits across the state, she also manages education programs for the South Carolina Association of Nonprofit Organization. As an a advocate for the nonprofit community, each month Debbie shares nonprofit stories in her Shine the Light columns in the Greenville Business Magazine and the Columbia Business Monthly. In addition she teaches nonprofit marketing at Clemson University to inspire and develop future nonprofit leaders. Debbie is a graduate of Leadership Greenville, Leadership South Carolina and the Riley Institute’s Diversity Leadership Initiative. She currently serves on the boards of the Greenville Area Development Corporation, the South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities, the United Way of Greenville County and the United Way Association of South Carolina.

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