his is what Cathy and Gerard Benner set out to do after Cathy’s mom, Jean, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2007. After over 50 years of marriage, Cathy’s dad, Marvin, was suddenly placed into a caregiving position totally unfamiliar to him.
Cathy and Gerard understood firsthand the challenges of keeping her mom home. But because of Jean’s overall good physical health, the family made the commitment to try and prevent a premature nursing home entrance. Keeping that promise in mind, they began to look for appropriate options of support for their mom during the day. However, they found limited choices of care that ensured purposeful days for her while also providing rest for their dad.
In 2013, Cathy and Gerard set out on a mission. Relying on their deep faith and drawing on the experiences of the previous six years, they started to envision an adult caregiving center in their community. That year, Joyful Journey, Inc. was established. They purchased property, obtained not-for-profit status, started a building campaign, designed a real home for future Friends and recruited Staff. Thanks to the generous gifts and involvement of more than 400 entities in the West Lafayette, Lafayette, and surrounding communities, the Benner’s dream was finally realized in June 2015 when the Joyful Journey house was completed. On July 29, 2015, Joyful Journey opened its doors to their first Friend, debt free.