- Associated Press - Sunday, August 17, 2014

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) - When Cathy Benner’s 74-year-old mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2007, the family resolved to care for her at home as long as possible.

Benner persuaded her father and mother to move, in 2009, from White County to West Lafayette so Benner and her husband, Gerard, could assist with her mother’s care.

As time, and the disease, progressed, the Benners unsuccessfully searched for services that would allow them to work during the day and help her parents at night, giving her dad a break and enriching her mother’s life.

“It became clear to us the only thing out there is nursing care or at-home,” Cathy told the Journal & Courier (http://on.jconline.com/1uom209 ). “One of the difficulties with at-home care is the person is still in the home. They’re not integrated socially. They’re isolated.”

The West Lafayette couple decided to solve their own problem.

They formed a not-for-profit corporation and last month won zoning approval to build and operate an adult day center at the northwest corner of Lindberg Road and Salisbury Street.

The facility, named Joyful Journey, will be the first adult day center of its kind in Greater Lafayette.

The center will have capacity for up to 25 daily guests and serve people who are unable to stay home alone for safety reasons, Benner said. That distinguishes it from the Senior Center @ Jenks Rest, which offers social activities and meals to senior citizens who live at home and take care of themselves.

So far, Benner said, she has been contacted only by people who have already been through the caregiving process and could have used the day center if it had existed previously.

“No one has called to put their mom on a wait list because they’re in the midst of giving care,” she said. “When you’re in the midst of giving care . you’re making do.”

No one knows for certain how many seniors - and their caregivers - could benefit from adult day services, Benner said. But various statistics indicate the need is significant.

For example, about 680 people in July received in-home services funded through state and federal aging and disability programs administered by Area IV Agency on Aging and Community Action Programs, according to data provided by executive director Elva James.

The nonprofit agency serves residents in Tippecanoe and eight other counties with programs designed to keep people in their homes and out of expensive nursing homes.

- More than 350 of those clients received assistance with dressing, bathing, eating and other activities funded by federal Aging and Disability Medicaid Waivers.

- 115 people received similar services through the state-funded Community and Home Options to Institutional Care for Elder (and Disabled) or CHOICE program.

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