Feed them, and they will come

Site of senior outreach forum means easy access

The Fitness Forum, a community outreach program for seniors, draws crowds of 150 and more the third Thursday of the month. That’s because the message is positive, says Linda Mauger, program manager for the Office of Geriatrics and Gerontology at The Ohio State University Health Sciences Center in Columbus.

"The program is being offered so that older adults can stay more in charge of their lives and age independently in a healthy manner over the long term," says Mauger. Topics covered have included financial planning, Medicare, and memory loss.

The educational sessions are held at the food court of a local mall that sponsors a senior walking program. The mall is located in a community with a large percentage of older adults. A continental breakfast is served at 8 a.m. with the hour-long presentation beginning at 8:45 a.m. Each presenter answers about 10 minutes of questions at the end of each session. The sessions are followed by a drawing from the merchants at the mall. "I believe that food and the drawing are great incentives," says Mauger.

Those who attend the Fitness Forum are given a notebook at the beginning of the nine-month lecture series that runs from September through May, following the university’s academic calendar.

Each month, participants receive a chapter on the topic being covered to create a manual by the end of the lecture series. Also, they have an opportunity to pick up information on other topics of interest or resources in the community as they register.

Seniors who attend Fitness Forum are placed on a mailing list and receive a card in the mail announcing the upcoming topics for three months. Mauger obtained the original mailing list of prospective seniors from a local commission on aging.

"We started from day one with just amazing attendance. That mailing list of 250 has grown into 1,000 and each month the session is in the newspaper," says Mauger.


For more information on Fitness Forum, contact:

Linda Mauger, Program Manager, Office of Geriatrics and Gerontology, The Ohio State University Health Sciences Center, S 2042 Davis Center, 480 West 9th Ave., Columbus, OH 43210. Telephone: (614) 293-8031. Fax: (614) 293-5612. E-mail: mauger.10@osu.edu.