CICOA Makes Homes Safer for Seniors in Midtown

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Carleen Carter, 70, has lived in the Crown Hill neighborhood of Indianapolis for 60 years, and she considers her involvement in the community to be one of her biggest joys. Now it’s the community’s turn to help her out. On Sept. 28, 25 volunteers will be doing home modification projects at her house as a part of the 10th annual Safe at Home event.

CICOA Aging & In-Home Solutions hosts Safe at Home, which is an annual, high-impact, half-day of service to homeowners over the age of 60 or to persons of any age with a disability. The event coincides with Fall Prevention Awareness Week, recognized nationally during the first full week of fall, and targets neighborhoods with high population densities of older, low-income homeowners.

On event day, more than 150 volunteers will be doing projects, such as installing grab bars, handrails and lighting, doing yard work, and organizing papers and other items.

Clutter and home maintenance are common challenges for seniors

At Carleen’s home, volunteers will be installing handrails in her bathroom, helping with yard work, and organizing her belongings. While Carleen is in good health, she loses her balance at times and worries about falling. As she gets older, she has a hard time keeping up with yard work and addressing clutter inside her home.

“It’s hard for me to do everything on my own, especially since I’ve lost my spouse and don’t have family,” she said. “I have a lot of clutter, but I can’t deal with it alone, so it just piles up.”

Carleen’s late husband was a World War II veteran who served in the Navy. The couple had one daughter who died at a young age.

Though she lives alone, Carleen has a great community support system. She served as the president of the Crown Hill Neighborhood Association for four years, where she spoke out on behalf of residents’ concerns. She now works part-time doing community outreach at the Martin Luther King Community Center. Being involved makes her feel fulfilled.

“I just love getting out, communicating with people, and being aware of what’s going on in our city,” she said.

As part of her outreach efforts, she was sure to tell her neighbors about Safe at Home, so they also could get involved. She is grateful that CICOA volunteers help seniors who cannot do home improvement projects on their own.

“To have support from CICOA is a wonderful thing,” she said. “It’s a relief.”

Carleen hopes to stay in her home and community for as long as she can. The Safe at Home Event on Sept. 28 aims to make this goal possible for her and dozens of other seniors in the neighborhood.

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