Joy’s House Aims to Keep Older Adults Happy, Give Caregivers a Break
Writer / Debra Legg
The plan might call for yoga, scarf dancing or Trivial Pursuit.
On the other hand, the plan might fly out the window by 9 a.m.
“If it’s a gloomy, gray day, we’ll change the activities and do something to get people going,” said Tina McIntosh, president, chief executive officer and founder of Joy’s House.
There’s really no such thing as a typical day or typical guest at Joy’s House adult day services. Most guests are senior citizens who aren’t able to live as independently as they once could. There also are younger adults who face issues such as autism or Down syndrome.
The name Joy’s House has nothing to do with a person, but with the emotion the center hopes to generate in both guests and their caregivers. McIntosh wants the center to be a happy, busy place. “We always have something to keep minds and bodies going,” she said.
The center is open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays. Some guests stay all day while their caregivers work. Others drop in for a few hours while their loved ones run errands. Lunch is served family-style on china, and there are afternoon and morning snacks.
All days include activities aimed at keeping guests physically and mentally sharp. Anything from karaoke to couponing might be on the schedule, and that schedule is subject to sudden change if the guests seem to need something different.
“I am brilliant for only about five minutes at a time,” McIntosh said. “The rest is the staff. They’re amazingly dedicated.”
They’re also adept at finding resources in the community, from regular volunteers to special programs.
In December, a woman who was a past Olympic torch bearer gave a program, complete with memorabilia. Around that same time a church in Ohio — McIntosh has no idea how the congregation heard about Joy’s House — traveled to Indiana to put on a puppet show.
Joy’s House began 15 years ago in a small farmhouse on East Broad Ripple Avenue. The concept, though, dates back to when McIntosh volunteered at an adult day care as a freshman at Ball State University.
“I loved the experience, and it got in my soul. I just couldn’t get it out of my mind,” she said.
McIntosh worked as an event planner after college until two events in quick succession caused her to rethink her life. Her best friend committed suicide, and her biological father was beaten and left for dead on the streets of Fort Wayne.
“Two things happened,” she said. “I got closer to God, and I got introspective.”
That introspection led to a ton of proposal writing and grant applications as she began to create the center that had lurked in the back of her mind for a decade. In 1999, Joy’s House was granted not-for-profit status and opened its doors.
Ten years later, Joy’s House expanded to 12,000 square feet. Today, the center is working on an expansion to a second location.
Joy’s House also is expanding its services to better meet the needs of caregivers, even if they’re not caring for Joy’s House guests.
The center offers free CARE kits, binders filled with information caregivers need. A caregiver retreat, filled with a day of pampering and education, is planned for May, and McIntosh takes to the airwaves with Caregiver Crossing every Saturday from 8 to 9 a.m. on WIBC 93.1 FM.
With the aging population continuing to grow, McIntosh expects the demand for facilities such as Joy’s House to grow as well.
“There is going to be a need for these programs,” she said. “Baby boomers are not going to put up with being cast aside.”
– SIDEBAR -JOY’S HOUSE
WHAT: A not-for-profit adult day care offering regular and respite care
WHERE: 2028 E. Broad Ripple Ave.
HOURS: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays
Over age 18. Most are older adults, with an average age of 70.
Have a condition such as Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, Parkinson’s disease, autism, Down syndrome or multiple sclerosis.
The primary caregiver is a family member.
Full day, $70
Less than four hours, $50 with lunch for $6
Accepts Aged and Disabled Medicaid Waiver, CHOICE and long-term care insurance
Financial assistance is also available
FOR MORE INFORMATION OR TO VOLUNTEER: