Serving the needs of today’s elderly population is a challenge in every community. Thank goodness there are places like Bethany Home and people like Joyce Heatwole, who commit themselves to meeting those needs. Joyce runs the Adult Day Services program at Bethany Home; a small but vital part of meeting the needs of seniors in our community.
Having grown up in Ripon, Joyce was one of six children born to Jack and Eunice Cover.
“I grew up just down the road, on West Ripon Road, and everybody in our neighborhood knew about Bethany Home,” she said. “My dad was active in getting Bethany Home started, many of my relatives lived there over the years, and I even believe my dad was involved in designing the landscaping in those early years.”
“All of the clients served by the Adult Day Services program have some age-related care needs,” according to Joyce. “We provide a homelike atmosphere in a safe and secure setting, allowing family caregivers some ‘time-off’ during the day. We currently operate on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, but hope to expand to five days if the clientele increases.”
Like her predecessor before her, Jo Terpsma, Joyce has a passion and a love for the elderly. She lives life from a deep spiritual conviction, confident that “the Spirit of God is in this place.” “I really don’t feel our name, Adult Day Services, adequately describes what we do,” added Joyce. “We need to look at that and come up with a name that includes the word ‘retreat’ or something similar, since we are not a passive drop-off center. We do our best to provide a day filled with companionship, exercise and activities. I can get most of the women to participate in crafts and activities, but men are a little harder. It does my heart good to see two men sit across the table and start discussing old war stories. That is where communication begins. That is healthy living.”
When asked if Joyce had any dreams for the future, she was quick to reply.
“I would like to see our program expand its space for activities and crafts. Right now we are in a house, and that is nice, but just once I would like to have a place where we could throw paint at a canvas and not worry about making a mess on the carpet. I would love to throw a ball around the room and not worry about hitting a lamp.”
Joyce Heatwole … whose passion and love for the elderly is inspired by a verse in the Bible, “You shall rise up before the gray headed and honor the aged, and you shall revere your God; I am the Lord.” (Leviticus 19:32)