For families, peace of mind means everything. Among the many resources CICOA provides, the knowledge and guidance of experienced professionals helps ease the journey for family caregivers like Andrea.
Andrea’s mother, Silvera, 80, and aunt Betty, 83, live with her and her husband, Scott, in the Liberty Creek neighborhood on Indianapolis’ west side. Andrea, 52, has been her mom’s caregiver for 20 years and her aunt’s for the last six months. She has been working with CICOA for 10 years.
Coupled with the uncertainty generated by a worldwide pandemic and the peculiarity of working from home, Andrea’s situation holds the potential to overwhelm the strongest of individuals.
With timely assistance from CICOA, she manages to get herself and her loved ones through the days.
Getting connected to CICOA
“In the beginning, I didn’t know anything about CICOA or caregiving,” said Andrea. “It wasn’t until my mom had a health scare, and in talking to the people at St. Vincent Hospital, that I found out about CICOA. It was one of the best decisions that I could have made for my mom to make sure she had what she needed, and I had the knowledge I needed.”
CICOA’s care managers helped arrange for services and suggested additional strategies that gave Andrea valuable perspective on her day-to-day role, including how to manage mountains of paperwork, get her mother to and from doctor appointments and balance the demands of a full-time job.
“To say I adore the people at CICOA is an understatement,” Andrea said. “They’re not just doing a job. They’re really part of my family. If I have stressful day, I can call, and they help me calm down. They’re supporting me, helping me think of things. There’s so much love there.”
CICOA staff have taken the time to get to know Andrea and her family, providing the small, but valuable touches that have cemented a bond between client, caregiver and agency.
“One care manager gave my mom some CDs that she likes to listen to. There were others, too, who got to know me,” said Andrea, who currently does healthcare temp work from home for Ascension.
“These two older ladies,” as Andrea lovingly refers to her mom and aunt, have received a number of services from CICOA, including home-delivered meals— “A huge help!”—the installation of a lift chair for the bathtub, a special recliner and wheelchairs. When Andrea’s job required her to work outside the home, CICOA connected her to an adult day care provider.
Navigating caregiving challenges during COVID
In the last few weeks, CICOA helped Andrea’s mom and aunt get their first COVID-19 vaccinations, thanks to an all-out effort by staff to contact clients and register them for the vaccine.
“My sister is a doctor,” Andrea said, “and she told me I needed to think about getting mom and auntie vaccinated. But, I thought, ‘How do I do that?’ Within 24 hours of talking to my sister, I got call from Emilee (a CICOA Medicaid specialist) and was able to get them scheduled for the vaccine at the same time, same day. I started crying; it was the best timing.
“Emilee did the scheduling for me. Within two minutes, done. I can’t believe that people could be there the way CICOA has been there for me. They’ve been a lifeline.”
Andrea’s caregiver routine—meals and baths, cleaning and laundry, doctor visits and making sure medications are taken correctly—goes on day after day. Yet through her own efforts and the assistance CICOA provides, she takes comfort in knowing that her mother and aunt are safe and secure.
“It’s my everyday life. When they’re ok, I’m at peace,” Andrea said.
Your gift is vital to providing peace of mind to family caregivers like Andrea who are taking care of aging loved ones.