ASL Board Holds Annual Meeting, Reelects Chairman Ike Gulas

Ike Gulas | Chairman, AHEPA Senior Living

FISHERS, Ind.- The AHEPA Senior Living (ASL) Board of Directors reelected Attorney Ike Gulas, Birmingham, Ala., to a second term as chairman of the board, July 23, 2023, during its annual board meeting in Las Vegas, Nev. Gulas has served on ASL’s board for more than 25 years.

“I am humbled by the confidence placed in me by my fellow board members and consider myself fortunate to work with AHEPA Senior Living as it furthers its mission of providing dignified affordable senior housing and quality aging services to those who need it.” Gulas said. “It is an exciting time of growth for AHEPA Senior Living, and I look forward to helping it achieve its goals. Our board looks forward to working with President and CEO Steve Beck, and the executive team, to meet our mission. Together we will meet the challenges the future holds.”

“Ike’s contributions as a board member for decades have been critical to our position in the affordable independent and affordable assisted living markets,” Beck said. “We look forward to working with Ike and the entire board of directors, including the board’s newly elected officers and executive committee. We had an almost near perfect turnout of board participation in Las Vegas and that is a testament to the high level of energy and passion this board brings to the table.”

Board Executive Officers

In addition to Gulas, the ASL Board of Directors officers are: Vice Chairman John Zourzoukis, Columbia, S.C.; Secretary Demetrios “Jimmy” Makris, New Port Richey, Fla.; and Treasurer Michael Pihakis, Bridgeville, Pa. Gulas also appointed board member, Attorney Christ Coumanis, Daphne, Ala., as counsel to the board.

Executive Committee Members

Nine members comprise the Executive Committee of the ASL Board of Directors. They are: Konstantine “Gus” Angelo, Houston; Mark Bullock, Albuquerque, N.M.; Christ Coumanis, Daphne, Ala.; Dr. John Grossomanides, Westerly, R.I.; Tasos Kalantzis, Canton, Ohio; Angelo Kostarides, Indianapolis, Ind.; George Nardone, Syracuse, N.Y.; Ellen Platis, Mobile, Ala.; and Charrie Regopoulos, Springsboro, Ohio.

Terry Mitchell, of Niantic, Conn., and a pioneer of AHEPA’s national housing program, is an Honorary Executive Board Member.

The ASL Board of Directors is comprised of 38 members, each one representing one or more of the 87 affordable senior housing communities administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Section 202 Housing for the Elderly Program.

Meet Ike Gulas

Gulas is an attorney with Morgan & Morgan, America’s largest injury law firm. A 1989 graduate of Cumberland School of Law at Samford University, Gulas has been practicing law for 30 plus years. He is a member of the Birmingham Bar Association, the American Bar Association, the Southern Trial Lawyer Association, the Alabama Trial Lawyers Association, the American Association for Justice, and the National Trial Lawyers Association where he has been selected as one of the top 100 lawyers in Alabama. In 1998, Gulas founded The Ike Gulas Law Firm, P.C., for which over its 20 years in existence he represented thousands of clients who suffered injuries caused by pharmaceuticals and defective medical devices. As a 40-year member in AHEPA he distinguished himself by serving two terms as its National President representing its 500 plus chapters throughout the United States, Canada and Europe.

When asked about his service to AHEPA Senior Living, a non-profit corporation, Gulas cited one of his father’s memorable teachings about always giving back.

“I have been involved in AHEPA Senior Living’s mission since developing the 72-unit HUD Senior Apartment complex in Hoover, Alabama, 27 years ago.  As I witnessed my own father’s aging and the issues faced by our seniors it made my resolve even greater to work to provide solutions to our seniors.  I am honored to serve such a worthwhile cause.”

About ASL

Serving more than 5,000 older adults across the United States, AHEPA Senior Living (ASL) is a mission-driven, nationwide provider of affordable independent and assisted senior living communities. Since 1980, it has developed and managed more than 90 affordable independent senior living communities in 21 states administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly program.

Through its subsidiaries, ASL owns and manages four affordable assisted living communities under the Hellenic Senior Living brand totaling 532 units in Indiana.

The mission of ASL is to provide older adults with safe, healthy, and enriching affordable residential communities and quality services that allow them to thrive and enjoy peace of mind.

ASL is based in Fishers, Ind.

Making new friends while in Assisted Living

A fear many residents experience before moving into an assisted living community is that they will be lonely, but this is simply not true! When you live in assisted living, staying connected with others is essential. All of AHEPA Senior Living’s Hellenic Senior Living affordable assisted living lifestyle communities host many group activities and opportunities to learn new things, see new places, and meet new people. In fact, after moving into an assisted living community, many residents find new friends with similar interests. If you’re thinking about moving into one of our communities, but think you won’t have any friends, this post is for you – keep reading!

Planned Events

Events are a great way to make new friends. At Hellenic Senior Living communities, we have events that residents can attend. Check out our busy Community Calendar at Hellenic Senior Living of New Albany! By attending these events, residents can make new friends and have fun! We regularly host off-site outings which can be an excellent opportunity to meet like-minded individuals in your community.

Not everyone is outgoing, and that’s okay! We also host community activities in which learning is the main objective. There are so many activities you can take part in to ease yourself into getting to know others. For example, we host bingo nights, crafting classes, book clubs, and so much more. The recent holiday season, members of the Hellenic Senior Living of Indianapolis community got together to decorate stockings, listen to Christmas music, and play Christmas Bingo—and even holiday shopped thanks to paparazzi jewelry and craft vendors!

Common Areas

It’s essential to leave your room, even if it’s just for a few minutes. You might not think it, but leaving your room can help you meet new people. By walking around and meeting people in common areas, you can easily strike up a conversation about what they’re currently doing, any hobbies you might have in common, places you’ve traveled, or anything else you can think of. You’ll find that others in your community have similar interests and just want to make friends! Frequenting the common areas will likely result in meeting other residents in a less formal setting.

One-on-One Activities

Everyone is nervous about asking someone to do something one-on-one. What if the other person says, no? Well, it doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Start small – ask if the other person would like to join a community activity with you. Maybe you know they love a dish you’ve got a great recipe for – ask if they would let you make it for them.

If you still want to ease into it, invite friends outside of the assisted living community over for dinner parties or other gatherings so that they can meet new people who live in your new community! Other ideas can include attending a movie together, going out for food, or even hosting small group gatherings at your home.

Keep an Open Mind

Be friendly and keep an open mind when meeting new people. If you’re new to an assisted living community, it’s easy to feel like you don’t know anyone there – you might not, but neither did anyone else when they first got there. But if you try your best to make friends with others in your community, your circle will eventually grow and expand beyond just the people directly adjacent to your room!

You’ve heard the phrase, “don’t judge a book by its cover.” This holds especially true because you don’t know what others are going through. It is crucial to keep an open mind when trying to connect with others. Once you get to know the individual, you may find that your initial thoughts were off, and they were just having a bad day.

Stay Connected!

It’s important for seniors living in assisted living communities to stay connected with others. By staying open to making new friends and following the above advice, residents will scoff at the idea that its lonely in the community. At our Hellenic Senior Living communities there’s always something new to try and someone new to meet!

AHEPA Senior Living Personifies Hellenic Ideals

At AHEPA Senior Living, we strive to be pillars of our communities, inspired by the ethos of our Greek American founders of civic responsibility, humanitarianism, and philanthropy. Led by the desire to leave our communities better than we found them, we hope our team of professionals embodies these Hellenic ideals and that these ideals carry over to residents. This personification of ideals is what we saw this holiday season at several of our communities.


A Community Inspired to Give Back

In Daytona Beach, Florida, at our AHEPA 410 Senior Apartments community, residents recently asked the management team about donating toys to children through a Toys for Tots drive hosted by the Daytona Beach Fire Department. While the request seemed normal to Julie Carpenter, the AHEPA 410 Senior Apartments property manager, the participation caught her a bit by surprise.

“We collected 64 new unwrapped toys that we dropped off to the Daytona Beach Fire Department,” said Carpenter. “Many of our residents were eager to participate. For them, the thought of putting smiles on children’s faces was very gratifying. Several took pictures of the gifts under the tree to share with their loved ones.”

We also saw a similar toy drive carried out by residents at Penelope 54 Senior Apartments in Houston for a collection organized by the Houston Police Department.

However, the exciting part of the story is how these holiday toy drives that link generations seem to reflect a growing trend in the United States–a rise in multigenerational housing. These households cite several benefits of living together, including strengthened relationships among family members, more accessible family care, improved finances, and positive impacts on personal mental health. Perhaps the alignment of the “holiday spirit” or simply the desire to care for others ties these two concepts together.


The Steady Rise of Multigenerational Households

The COVID-19 pandemic and the opioid crisis are recent contributing factors for the rise in children in high poverty or rural areas living with their grandparents. A June 2022 report issued by a congressional committee responsible for appropriating funding for affordable elderly housing cited these factors. However, according to research from the Pew Research Center, there has been a steady rise in multigenerational housing since the 1970s, with a rate of 18% in 2021. All told, 23% of grandparents support grandchildren, according to a stat provided by the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Aging, Senator Tim Scott (R-SC), at a December 2022 hearing.

While there are currently no AHEPA Senior Living facilities that provide multigenerational housing, the trend is gaining attention. It has the interest of the Senate Committee on Aging. In 2019, the then-heads of the committee, Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Bob Casey (D-PA), proposed a bill to reauthorize the Older Americans Act to allow further funding to multigenerational families. Today, we are starting to see Congress appropriate funding to expand the supply of affordable intergenerational units—$25 million in the latest funding bill.

Regardless of whether we can be involved directly, our ethos aligns with those ideals being lived by intergenerational housing. At the core, we want to ensure that seniors and our communities are served and thriving. So, we want to thank again the residents in Daytona Beach and Houston who took it upon themselves to help make the holidays brighter for the underserved children in their communities.