CICOA is a not-for-profit agency that empowers older adults, those of any age with a disability and family caregivers to achieve the greatest possible independence, dignity and quality of life. We are the unbiased experts who provide the innovative answers, services and support you need to help your loved one remain at home in better health, with better care, at a lower cost. As one of 700 Area Agencies on Aging nationwide, CICOA is not a government agency, but oversees state and federal funds and private donations to provide:
CICOA serves Boone, Hamilton, Hancock, Hendricks, Johnson, Marion, Morgan and Shelby Counties in Central Indiana.
Visitors who meet Betty, 82, tend to stay awhile. She tells stories in an easy-going manner with a wide, friendly smile. Betty is a lifelong resident of Indianapolis who raised her family on the city’s west side while working for RCA for 38 years. She fondly recalls hosting themed parties, shopping and serving in various roles at Jones Tabernacle AME Zion Church. Read more.
Owen is like any other 6-year-old boy. He loves superheroes, video games, baseball and garbage trucks. He can run like the wind –with or without his Star Wars-themed prosthetics. As a toddler, Owen was burned on more than 98 percent of his body. He has endured numerous surgeries to repair his skin, hands and eyes. Growing physically is a blessing and a challenge for Owen because doctors have to use his remaining healthy skin for skin grafts as he grows. His adopted mother, Susan, expects that he’ll have about three surgeries a year at least until he is 18. Read more.
Outside Yolanda’s front door is a wooden ramp. The ramp has sturdy handrails around it, which allows Yolanda to leave her home safely without the worry of maneuvering stairs in a wheelchair. Easy access to her home is just one aspect of Yolanda’s recent independence. Read more.
In 1987, Chris wrote in an article for Indianapolis Monthly magazine, “You either do something in your life, or sit and do nothing.” Chris is definitely a “do something” person. The 58-year-old was born with a hereditary form of muscular dystrophy, which has caused muscle deterioration, and means he needs help bathing, dressing and moving from his wheelchair. He lives with his father, who is Chris’ primary caregiver, in the house he grew up in. Read more.
In 2008, Stacie was pregnant with twin girls when she went into premature labor at 20 weeks. One of the twins was born and didn’t survive. Four weeks later, the second twin, Sydni, was born without a pulse but was resuscitated. Sydni spent her first nine months in the hospital, fighting literally for life and breath. Read more.
"Can I call you Mom?” Keith, 51, asked his cousin Tracy, 47. Normally, Keith calls her by her name. But when he is feeling low, he asks for the reassurance that comes with the name “Mom.” Keith is diagnosed with developmental disabilities, which give him the mental functioning of a child. He also has severe osteoporosis, arthritis, hydrocephalus and seizure disorder. Read more.
At 103, Dorothy still gets around, which is not always a good thing. A year ago she was residing in an assisted living facility when she wandered outside and got lost.
Dorothy suffers from dementia, among other ailments. Her daughter Phyllis, who was managing a building in the complex, was told that her mother was no longer suitable to stay there. So Phyllis quit work, moved herself and her mother into one apartment, and began attending to her personal care needs 24/7. They sleep in the same room so Phyllis can monitor her mother’s movements during the night. Read more.
“I wish you could have known my mom. She was so vibrant at one time,” said Sondra. “She loved to dress in suits and hats. I never saw her in pants until she had her stroke.”
Sondra is the daughter of Corrine, 80, who was first diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 1997, around the same time that she suffered a stroke. Read more.
Four-year-old Haydin suffered from spinal meningitis at birth, causing permanent brain damage. He also has a seizure disorder and a mitochondrial disorder. He is the center of attention at the home he shares with his great grandparents and grandmother. Read more.
Mary was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in 1978 and has suffered with high blood pressure, problems with her gall bladder and cataracts. A home health aide provided through CICOA helps her with light housekeeping and personal care, but Mary prides herself on doing everything else. Read more.
Five-year-old Faith has an unknown genetic syndrome. She is autistic, has a neurogenic bowel and bladder, hypotonia (low muscle tone), mild scoliosis, a gastro motility dysfunction and a cleft lip and palate. Doctors believe she may also have a mitochondrial disorder. Read more.
In 1943, Marian was working in the original L.S. Ayres Tea Room when she met an Army recruiter having lunch. As a result, Marian decided to enlist in the Women’s Army Corps (WAC). She served in military intelligence, first at the Pentagon and then in New Jersey, intercepting German radio transmissions. If Marian hadn’t heard one set of signals from a German U-boat in New York Harbor, the course of World War II may have included an East Coast raid. Read more.
Robert remembers carrying the Olympic torch in 1996 on a 19-mile stretch in Louisville, Ky. He remembers visiting the White House to receive an award in a national veteran’s art competition. What he can’t remember is that he has to take his medicine every day. Read more.
Beverly and James have been married for 36 years and have a home filled with love and laughter. Beverly was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 1989, but faith, a positive attitude and love for one another has sustained the couple. Read more.
Lee, age 90, met his future wife Pearl at the Indiana State Fair. “I was a freshman and she was a senior,” he recalls. “I thought she was just being nice, but a few days later she sent me a note asking why I wasn’t talking to her anymore.” Read more.
Jesse is a talker, and at age 83 he has plenty of stories to share. He is a decorated veteran. He fought at Iwo Jima and earned five combat medals and two bronze stars during his military service. He recounted his military experiences in a book called China Marine and often is invited to Veterans Day events. Read more.
For more information about CICOA's ongoing support for family caregivers or CareAware workshops, call our Aging & Disability Resource Center at (317) 254-3660 or (800) 432-2422 or visit our CareAware section of this web site.
Are you someone who is:
You are not alone! Nearly one-third of the adults in this country are currently providing care, assistance and support for a loved one.
Caregiving is a familiar part of life for so many and can be richly rewarding. However, it usually also presents great challenges for the caregiver and can be extremely stressful, sometimes overwhelming, even in the best of circumstances. Easy access to information, organization, and support is essential in any caregiving role, and CICOA is here to help meet that need. CICOA's caregiver support service, CareAware, can help you get organized by providing critical information on a wealth of topics that you need to know about—or we can direct you to the right place for what you need.
Patric McDowell, CICOA Safe at Home project coordinator, and Dave Sander, director of Lifelong Living and Community Initiatives, are Certified Aging in Place Specialists (CAPS). As CAPS-certified professionals, they can conduct a home accessibility evaluation to look at current and future needs to improve accessibility and reduce the likelihood of falling.Read more.
Mom, wife, educator, hooking cow: that’s how Leah Ward, 58, described herself.
“It’s an old farm term for the lead cow—the one all the others follow,” she explained. “I’m the one who brings our family together.”
Knowing that about Leah helps you understand her story as a family caregiver and also as a CICOA advocate and donor.
In early 2009, Leah’s grandmother, Willa, came to visit for a month. It was immediately apparent to the family that Willa, then 103 and now 107, should not be living alone anymore. So the temporary became permanent, and Willa moved from her home in Okolona, Miss., into Leah’s home in Indianapolis. Read more.
Sometimes, the need is just obvious. That was the case for CICOA Care Manager Naomi Mueller the first time she visited the home of Carol, a new client.
“I couldn’t even get to the house because the driveway was so rutted and blocked by overgrown trees,” Mueller said. “With no on-street parking, it was an obvious safety issue and one that could impede the client’s ability to remain independent at home.”
So Mueller contacted CICOA’s volunteer coordinator Dan Amonett, who in turn contacted the Southeastern Church of Christ for help. Read more.
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