Alumni Help Mentor Applied Gerontology Students

Safe and Sound Home Care owners discuss the benefits of at-home geriatric care

Brad and Sharon Morris (left), owners of Safe and Sound Home Care, meet with Ole Miss applied gerontology students Annabelle Dean, Brett Bagus and Clark Ross during a classroom session during the spring semester. Submitted photo

OXFORD. Miss. – This semester, students in the applied gerontology program at the University of Mississippi have had opportunities to learn from several professionals working in their industry.

Among these mentors are alumnus Brad Morris, who received his Master of Accountancy and Juris Doctor from UM, and Sharon Morris, owner of Safe and Sound Home Care, a company that provides nonmedical caregiving services to assist the elderly and disabled across north Mississippi.

“Safe and Sound Home Care is a local business that provides nonmedical caregiver services to assist seniors to continue to live safely in their homes for longer periods of time,” said Teresa Carithers, a faculty member in applied gerontology and professor of nutrition and hospitality management.

“Home care is already a booming entrepreneurial enterprise nationally, and it is our responsibility to expose our students to many different models of care that they will be involved with as they move into their prospective careers.”

Brad Morris was inspired to found Safe and Sound Home Care while he was helping find care for elderly family members in 2011. After cycling through many agencies and caregivers to find the right fit, the Morrises had a vision of starting a company that could provide care for elderly clients while allowing them to remain in their own homes for a longer time.

“Having alumni from related disciplines present their experiences helps our students develop professional networks, hear success stories and learn ways to avoid pitfalls,” Carithers said. “It is wonderful when professionals are willing to take time out of their busy schedules to share their knowledge with the future generation.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention projects that the U.S. population will continue to shift, resulting in a growing number of older adults in coming years. One goal of the applied gerontology program is to develop visionary leaders who can address and find solutions for the challenges of an aging population.

Applied gerontology students learn how to manage the aging public’s array of needs across industries such as health care, law, business, finance and public policy. Students take related courses in communication disorders, advanced composition, nutrition and hospitality management, exercise science and related businesses.

“There are so many things a person can do with an applied gerontology degree, so it was really interesting to hear about the business side of geriatrics and at-home care,” said Annabelle Deen, a senior from Tyler, Texas. “I personally think it is so important for companies like Sharon Morris’s to take pride in their caregivers and take a lot of time to make sure those caregivers are trustworthy and well-trained before they set out to see clients.”

For more information about the applied gerontology program at Ole Miss, visit