Tina McIntosh, president and CEO
- 2028 Broad Ripple Ave.
Indianapolis, IN 46220
- 1615 Castle Ave. (new)
Indianapolis, IN 46227
When Tina McIntosh was a student at Ball State University, she volunteered at an adult day center in Muncie, and that experience planted a seed.
In 1999, McIntosh launched Indianapolis-based Joy’s House and 10 years later, expanded its Broad Ripple operation. The agency recently announced the opening of a Southside location near the University of Indianapolis.
All this hard work and innovative programming recently won the local nonprofit a prestigious national award. This fall, the National Adult Day Services Association gave Joy’s House its top prize — outstanding and innovative adult day center — and encourages others to learn from its model.
“We might be scared to be in a room with people who have dementia or Alzheimer’s, because we don’t understand it. We think they’re sad and drooling and kind of sit around waiting to die, when the reality is, and I tell people a lot at Joy’s House, sometimes they may be a little sad, but they’re not waiting to die. They are lively and fun,” said McIntosh.
While Joy’s House’s primary work is to provide innovative day programs for adults, McIntosh realizes that caregivers needed services, too. She says that 1 of 3 adults is a caregiver for someone. Last year, that figure was 1 in 4.
“We have pulled together folks in Indiana who do caregiving programs. There is so much that needs to be done.”
About two years ago, WIBC (93.1) approached Joy’s House to seek input on a potential radio show.
“Caregiver Crossing” was the result and is a program for listeners who are caring for a loved one or who will be one day. The hour-long show can be heard on Saturday mornings from 7 to 8 a.m. McIntosh co-hosts the weekly show with Terri Stacy and guest experts join them to discuss the many aspects of caregiving. The show has been No. 1 in its time slot for over a year.
“It is a program that has become an on-air support program for caregivers. We have a lot of fun in the process. It’s overwhelming how many support areas there are. And I truly mean that. It’s overwhelming in a good way. It’s just been an honor to have people reach out and kind of say, ‘Here’s our situation, what advice can you give.’
“I found myself talking on the phone with people countless times, I might not have all the answers for them, but sometimes they just need a place where someone’s going to listen.”
The radio program is just one part of Joy’s House’s education caregiver program. Twice a year, there is a free one-day retreat for caregivers. It also provides CARE Kits, a binder full of template information to help someone think through either when they are caregiving or when they are just looking toward the future. All medical and home information is in one place.
“We’ve given out over 1,000 of those into the community, and actually 1,000 more are arriving at our door any day. All people have to do is reach out to Joy’s House to get a kit free of charge.”