“Things are stressful, so it may be small, but it means the world,” Cindy said. “It makes you get your own troubles out of your head for a little bit.”
Cindy was sitting in her recliner where she spends the better part of each day, talking to her care manager. In her lap was a gift bag containing a new fleece blanket and a package of socks. A tote filled with holiday food was on her kitchen table, along with a poinsettia, delivered as part of CICOA’s annual holiday assistance program.
On Friday, Dec. 15, CICOA staff and 70 volunteers delivered 300 food totes and 100 gift cards to CICOA clients. Counting those “adopted” by other community partners, more than 700 clients received some form of holiday assistance, which including other household members, impacted almost 1400 people.
Cindy, 58, was born and reared on Indianapolis’ east side. Now she calls herself a southsider, having lived in her current home in Beech Grove since 1990. She worked as an administrative assistant and reared two sons before her health started declining.
COPD, arthritis, fibromyalgia—the list of chronic conditions Cindy manages can be difficult enough. Then in September 2016, Cindy fell, injuring her foot, ankle, calf, knees and shoulder. She has had several surgeries to repair torn ligaments and tendons.
St. Francis Visiting Nurses referred her to CICOA. When she learned that she qualified for assistance, she said she was surprised. She began receiving services in April 2017, including home health care two hours a day to assist with bathing, dressing, transfers, and meal preparation. She gets frozen meal delivery through Mom’s Meals, and she uses CICOA’s Way2Go transportation service to get to medical appointments. She also has a personal emergency response system for frequent falls. A lift chair is coming soon, as well as some bathroom modifications.
The bad news—the part she says she is stressing about—is that she was recently diagnosed with a malignant melanoma.
“If I didn’t have CICOA, my husband and I would be doing this alone. This just makes life a little better,” she said.
Staying in her own home, in her own neighborhood is important to her.
“Some of my fondest memories are of raising my two boys here,” she said. “Having neighbors you can count on is important, too. My best friend lives across the street, and we back each other up when anyone needs help.”
“It’s home,” she said. “When you get sick or have been in the hospital, you just want to go home. You feel more comfortable at home; you heal better at home. I’m just thankful to be here.”