“Working and Caring for Older Americans,” a lecture/performance event, occurred on April 14 in the Schwitzer Student Center Room 010. This event addressed the topic of caring for older Americans and being an effective caregiver.
Junior psychology major Michelle Gudas hosted this L/P event to help bring awareness to the issue of taking care of older Americans.
“The reason I chose to put on this event is because I work for Joy’s House and have been employed there since August,” Gudas said. “I started out there as a volunteer and was offered a position when I was done. I fell in love with working with the older population and thought that it would be a good presentation, a good topic, for people who are interested in working with older Americans—or maybe who aren’t interested but could become interested by thinking about what kind of people you want to work with.”
Vice President of Joy’s House Laura Johnson spoke about how the facility cares for older Americans and also trains people to be caregivers. According to the Joy’s House official website, “Joy’s House adult day service provides care for adults living with physical and mental challenges while providing respite for caregivers.”
“We provide adult day services for adults who are in need of safety and socialization during the day while providing family caregivers a well-needed break,” Johnson said.
During the speech, packets were distributed that contained more information about Joy’s House and caregiving. Senior psychology major Stephen Fox attended the event and said he was very excited to learn about the older population.
“I was just slightly familiar with Joy’s House,” Fox said. “I was aware that it was an adult day service center, but I learned a lot of information about what services they actually provide and what hours they operate and also who their guests consist of.”
Johnson spoke for about one hour, then took questions for another 15 minutes.
“I think it’s important for students to go to things like this just to become aware of whatever presentation is being put on and to learn about different options and opportunities, [and] ways to get involved,” Gudas said. “I think that’s really important. I started off in my class, and I wanted to be placed in a daycare with kids. And then the next day, I fell in love with working with the older population.”
Johnson said during the program that Joy’s House has plans to move close to University of Indianapolis in the near future.
“We, in July of last year, took over operations of the former Southport Adult Day Program that had been an outreach ministry of Southport Presbyterian Church,” she said. “They had approached us about a year before, saying that they were no longer able to support that ministry, and asked if we would be interested. And then Dr. Ellen Miller [of the UIndy Center for Aging and Community] kind of sweetened the pot, saying that if this is something that we were interested in, that UIndy could help by providing a location closer to campus.”
Johnson said that by next year, Joy’s House hopes to expand to a house on Castle Avenue.