A Passionate Pioneer Ages Well and Inspires Others

Joy Hancock, RPN, B.Ed., M.Sc.

We’re very pleased to announce that our Wellness Coordinator Joy Hancock has completed her Master of Science in Applied Gerontology from Brenau University.  This interdisciplinary, online program provides theoretical and practical approaches to: the foundations of Gerontology; cultural, social, physical and psychological aspects of aging; effective communication with older adults; and issues related to death and dying.

Joy has long been a passionate advocate for the autonomy, dignity and wellness of older adults, at Luther Village and in the community.

She is well-placed, as Waterloo Region sets a standard for quality of living for older adults. It was designated by the World Health Organization (WHO) as an Age-friendly City. The Waterloo Region Elder Abuse Response Team was on the forefront of applied gerontology when it started up 25 years ago. The University of Waterloo's Master of Science program in Public Health and Health Systems (previously Health Studies and Gerontology), and its partners the Schlegel-UW-Conestoga Research Institute for Aging (RIA) and the Murray Alzheimer Research and Education Program (MAREP) continue to be on the leading edge of gerontological research and education.

For Joy, choosing to take her degree from Brenau University (instead of from our neighbour, the University of Waterloo) was a conscious choice: Brenau offers an applied program, where UW is primarily researched-focused. Joy wanted to be able to build on her passionate, pioneering career in older adult wellness by immediately applying her education in direct and practical ways.

Improving the quality of life for our residents was her priority.

Joy discovered that Brenau’s curriculum reinforced much of what she has learned in her professional and life experience over the years, while providing a theoretical basis for long time practices. She also discovered that other communities and educational bodies are only just beginning to recognize and research what Waterloo Region has been practicing for over 20 years with respect to gerontology. We are on the cutting edge here!

And yet what we are discovering about aging well is truly nothing new. Perhaps it was framed in less theoretical ways in the past. We didn’t necessarily learn it in school. But our wise elders have always known it. Aging isn’t a choice – but how we age is, and aging well is the result of conscious lifestyle choices that support and encourage all the different parts that make up who we are: our minds, bodies, hearts, and souls. Aging well doesn’t mean the absence of disease, or immortality – it means making choices about how we will enjoy our lives to the fullest every day.

Life-long learning, and sharing wisdom with others, is the way Joy lives her life to the fullest. Officially an older adult herself, Joy is not only an inspiring professional in the field of healthy aging, but also a model for aging well. Besides accomplishing this degree, Joy is an avid traveler, gardener, and loving parent and grandparent.

Joy brings a positive, caring energy to her work and relationships at Luther Village, and inspires us all to “age well, at any age”!

Residents and their loved ones are welcomed to contact Joy at 519-783-3710 x2009 to congratulate her on her graduation, or ask questions related to Wellness services at Luther Village on the Park

by Charlotte Clarke, Marketing Coordinator