150 Volunteers Make Homes Safer for 100-Year-Old Woman and Elderly Neighbors

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Jimmie Luton celebrated her 100th birthday this year, and she’ll admit, she doesn’t get around quite as well as she used to. She welcomed volunteers into her home in Martindale-Brightwood in Indianapolis on Sept. 30 for CICOA Aging & In-Home Solutions’ annual Safe at Home event. Volunteers built a ramp, installed a grab bar and an ADA-approved toilet in her bathroom, and cleared some overgrowth in her yard.

“Lord, yes, I’m happy, any help I can get,” said Luton.

She has lived in the house since 1972, but she’s lived on the same street since 1929. She’s seen lots of changes to the neighborhood since then, and she’s thankful CICOA and its approximately 150 volunteers are helping her and her neighbors. Safe at Home brings together volunteers who spent the morning making homes safer for low-income homeowners who are 60 or older. Volunteers installed grab bars, handrails, and did yard clean-up projects.

“Our goal is to help prevent falls by making homes safer,” said Orion Bell, CICOA president and CEO. “It’s amazing the impact we can make over just a few hours with a small army of caring volunteers.”

This is the eighth year that CICOA has hosted the event. United Home Healthcare is not only the presenting sponsor of Safe at Home Day, but also brought 22 volunteers.

Luton says the improvements will be a big help, although she gets around pretty well with her cane. She still cooks all her own meals, cleans her house and takes care of her basic needs. Her only regret is not being able to drive. Her doctor took away her driving privileges last year, she said, after she fell and broke her arm.

“The wind blew me off the front porch,” she said. “It’s the first broken bone in my life.”

Now Luton relies on her daughter and grandchildren to drive her to appointments, run errands and to play Bingo.

Luton is like 90 percent of senior citizens who say they prefer to age in place in their homes. Unfortunately, most homes aren’t designed to accommodate older adults or people with disabilities. Preventing falls is key to helping seniors remain comfortably and safely at home, which is why CICOA created the Safe at Home event.

“Every year, one in four older adults falls, resulting in injuries that may make it difficult for them to continue living independently,” Bell said. “We want to help people like Jimmie Luton and others live at home safely.”

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