Joan Dunlap heard the call to duty and served her country. By 1944, her fiancé had already served two years in the Pacific on a destroyer, while she waited impatiently at home. She had promised him they would marry when he returned, but after two years, she wanted to do more than wait.
Joan Dunlap needed to do her part to end the war so she could get him home quick and safe.
Trading in the memories of the Buckeye trees on her family’s New Brighton farm for the Cherry Blossoms of Washington D.C., Joan Dunlap served as a Navy code writer. "I was proud to wear my uniform: even the cotton gloves that did nothing to keep your hands warm," Joan said proudly. " I knew it was my codes that were helping save Sailor’s lives: especially my Sailor."
Today, Joan is in her eighties. Her husband passed away 12 years ago and her children have lives and families of their own. For Joan and other senior Veterans it is a challenge finding those connections with others who understand her life experience.
She recently suffered an injury that required her recuperation at the VA Butler Healthcare Center. It was there that she discovered the Adult Day Health Care (ADHC) program, and it has made a world of difference in her life. The ADHC program provides a day-group community, promoting social, physical and emotional well-being for our senior Veterans.
Now that Joan has recovered, she still returns regularly to get the social and health care support that is important to older Veterans.
"At home, I have no one to really talk to," said Joan. "Here I collect crafts and have a sense of fellowship. We can really talk here because we all have that shared experience. I have a lot of praise for the VA."
The ADHC program stresses partnership with other Veterans, which is essential for the mental and emotional well being of senior Veterans. The newly renovated ADHC area also offers other services such as kinesiotherapy, speech therapy, audiology, family counseling and other therapeutic and social service needs.
"This is the only place I know of that takes care of you and you can make friends at the same time," said Joan. Her time at the ADHC program is so important to her, that her daughter has made special arrangements with her employer to make sure that Joan can come as often as possible.
To participate in the ADHC program, veterans must have been honorably discharged and enrolled in the VA Butler Healthcare system. Veterans interested in the program should contact their VA Butler Healthcare Center primary care provider to see if they are eligible and would benefit from the program.