Make your home page

Project designed to help keep 21 families ‘safe and in their homes’

Multicultural Spotlight: Safe at home day supports Indy seniors

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Keeping older adults safer will be the prime focus of a daylong home improvement project sponsored by CICOA Aging & In-Home Solutions and First Horizon Home Health Care.

About 150 volunteers on Saturday will be providing home improvements to lower-income older adults and to people with disabilities. Indianapolis’ 13th annual Safe at Home event will focus on 21 homes on the near-north side.

Representatives say the volunteers will not only free make home improvements but allow older adults to live independently for a longer time. Statistics show that every 11 seconds, an older adult will be treated for a fall.

Lillie Ford, who is retired, says she appreciates her independence even though her health hasn’t been what it used to be. But for 30 years, she’s lived in her home and she plans to stay for quite a while longer.

“I can breathe now to know that there is someone out here to help seniors. I didn’t know before.”

Ford is one of the families set to get support during the Safe at Home event.

“I just knew my body had changed and I fell, and I had to have five stitches in my head. That’s just going to the bathroom. And then going outside, just going down to steps, I fell down two steps,” Ford said.

Ford will get improvements to her handrails, a grab bar to make getting in and out of the bathtub easier, and power washing and lawn care outside her home. “Very grateful. I was maintaining on my own but, once I retired, I realize the expense of the upkeep and keeping things going plus my health.”

September is Fall Prevention Month, but this event lines up with the work this agency does everyday.

Stephen Gerber is chief executive officer of CICOA, which stands for Central Indiana Council on Aging. Gerber said, “The benefit to the seniors, the individuals we serve like Lillie and others, is that we can keep them safe and in their homes.”

He says older adults can often find themselves isolated with limited income, which makes getting safety improvements a bit harder. The Safe at Home event “really can be the difference between the person staying healthy longer in their home longer versus having to go into a care facility,” Gerber said.

From community calendar: upcoming free events at Hendricks County Senior Services