Camellia Place Assisted Living recently featured on Nightly News.

Beloved resident has help from community in celebrating his 95th birthday!

Ninety-four-year-old Oley Doty is a very special man and considers himself to be very lucky. He never set out to be famous, but a series of unlikely friendships put him in the local and national spotlight.

Mr. Doty, a veteran, was married for 74 years. When his wife needed more help than he could give at home, they began looking for a skilled memory care facility. After looking at many options, they found Camellia Place and never looked back.

He was very pleased with the care that she received there, and she found happiness there, too. Mr. Doty loved it so much that when he could no longer care for himself alone, he sold all his possessions and moved into Camellia Place as well. He describes that decision as to the best one he’s ever made.

They thoroughly enjoyed their new home together. But, soon after, things changed in a major way. The love of his life passed away. There would be no more cappuccinos in the library or reminiscing on the porch and falling asleep holding hands. It was a sad time for Oley and not easy to go through each day.

Walking was a way for Mr. Doty to keep busy, exercise, and it turns out to connect with the community. He had to change up his routine after the pandemic restrictions, but that did not stop him.

On these walks, he began to see the school buses from the Woodstock Elementary School loaded with children picking up and dropping off. The children started waving, and, of course, he waved back. The bus drivers also got in on the neighborly action. They began blowing their horns, and before you know it, the children on the bus started going to the windows when they knew Mr. Doty was going to be on the sidewalk.

One of the bus drivers called Camellia Place to find out more about the friendly gentleman who waves every day. That conversation started an exchange, and before you know it, Oley began receiving notes and cards from bus drivers and students. But the amicable relationship did not stop there. A representative from Camellia Place reached out to the school to inquire about Oley visiting the school. Without hesitation, Woodstock Elementary hopped on board that bus, and they put a plan in motion. Soon, Oley was at the school visiting the excited children, meeting staff, and drinking root beer floats, his favorite. And, in a beautiful gesture, conferred upon him the status of an honorary Wildcat.

And the story continues…
Oley’s 95th birthday was two days away and the bus drivers and students had a surprise for him. The school bus drivers, administration, and students at Woodstock elementary school helped Oley celebrate his birthday this year with signs and banners made by the kids in their art class draped across the buses. They drove by Camellia Place honking their horns and waving to Oley with big smiles on their faces. Well-deserved happiness was granted for sure. It is amazing to see what effects our residents’ emotions in their own individual
ways.

Oley clearly still misses his wife every day. However, he has made new friends and approaches each day with the joy of being able to walk his daily course in the community and wave to his friends.

And, he still feels very lucky to have his Camellia Place family. He says of the staff that he “has never seen so many special caring people” in his life and is amazed by their patience. He knows that if he has a problem, there are plenty of staff to talk to who will help him get the problem resolved. And, of course, he looks forward to the daily hugs.

To see more about Oley’s daily walks, check out his story from the Nightly News on CBS.