Multicultural News

Local nonprofits increasing independence for aging, people with disabilities through wheelchair ramps

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A group of nonprofits are helping people who use wheelchairs get a bit of their independence back, something that many are desperate for after a year of isolation brought on by the pandemic.

Debra Jones has lived in her home for 25 years. In the last two years, she started having difficulty getting out of the house so instead of risking it, she stopped leaving. She says now that she has a wheelchair ramp, she’s back on the move.

Jones says the ramp is her road to independence. She calls it her personal rollercoaster because of the sound her wheelchair wheels make.

“That’s what I told them. Catch me if you can because now I can get out and I can go,” Jones said.

She is now back to her passions of being in the community, grilling and gardening. The ramp was built with help from one of CICOA’s Independence at Home Network partners Servants at Work (SAWs).

“The baby boomer generation, there’s 10,000 of them turning 65 every day. So then it just keeps growing and growing,” Bob Richmond with SAWs said.

For every 10,000 baby boomers, Richmond says 3,000, including Jones, use a wheelchair.

“It got so severe that I could barely, I know its only five steps, but I could barely get down those steps,” Jones said. “Every step was extremely painful.”

The Independence Home Network was formed to pool resources to help bring in teams that specialize in ramps and other modification and repairs.

“I always think about our older Hoosiers as the legacy generation and so it is really important to advocate,” CICOA’s Tauhric Brown said. “This is why you see this collaborative of several organizations.”

Jones says she’s blessed to have so many people in her corner and she’s not taking it for granted.

“Even if I have to take two or three trips, I can carry my own groceries in now. You don’t think about the little things you take for granted,” Jones said.

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