Joyce Gearhart has always been athletic. She’s been playing sports throughout her life, from basketball in her school days, to softball on the team at church, to the bowling league she’s on right now. She’s doing well so far, with a 125 average — she does better than her husband Dick and their son, and has even collected trophies for her bowling success.
Joyce is also a guest twice a week at Centrica Adult Day, where she is living with mild dementia. Dick is her caregiver. He brings her on Mondays and Fridays, so she has a chance to get out of the house and interact with other people. It’s also a good time for him to run errands, or as Joyce jokes, “I get out of his hair!”
Though there are many activities available at Centrica Adult Day, it might not be a surprise to learn that the ones Joyce likes best are the ones that keep her moving. Putting together a jigsaw puzzle might take her several hours. She would rather spend the time walking around the building in our Portage office, or playing an engaging game like balloon volleyball. Some people who are less mobile sit to play, but Joyce is on her feet, sending the balloon up and over the net.
Friends and family
Joyce was born in Arkansas and came to Michigan to meet up with her sister after school. She found a job at Continental Can, a manufacturing plant in Three Rivers, where she worked a machine that put handles on paper cups. That’s where she met Dick.
“We used to throw paper cups around,” Joyce says. “I saw one (someone) threw at me, I looked around and it was him.”
They raised two sons together, and now have five grandchildren. Except for a 10-year stay in Tennessee through the 1990s, they have lived in the Three Rivers area. During their years in Tennessee, Joyce worked in nursing homes, so they had some idea of what to expect when Joyce’s doctor recommended she spend some time at Centrica Adult Day.
“Open to a challenge”
Dick attends meetings at the St. Joseph County Commission on Aging. He has mentioned Centrica Adult Day there. He also asked the Centrica Adult Day staff about care for Joyce’s sister, who is living with advanced dementia. Adult Day staff told him they were “open to a challenge,” and though Joyce’s sister ultimately didn’t start getting care, Dick says he was impressed that the staff wanted to welcome her.
Joyce spends a full 8 hours in care on Mondays and Fridays. Dick says he appreciates that it gives her a chance to visit with other people, and keeps her active; at home, Joyce doesn’t always have as much to do.
The staff at Centrica Adult Day say she’s a help, too, lending a hand in the kitchen, folding towels, and doing other things she’s capable of doing safely.
“I feel at home,” Joyce says. “They take good care of us here. We all get along good — I’ve never had a problem with anyone at all.”
You can learn more about Centrica Adult Day on our website.