What's Behind the CICOA Royal Blue Tablecloth

 Posted by Renee Anderson on August 15, 2019 at 11:20 AM

"This month we have Melinda Winnie, Community Programs Coordinator for CICOA, as our guest blogger."

They see the royal blue tablecloth with “CICOA Aging & In-Home Solutions” printed boldly in white and then they look at me and say, “I’m not old yet… I don’t need you!” I have lost count of how many times this has happened to me at community health and resource fairs. As a 28 year-old, I get it! The last thing I want to worry about at this point in my life is aging; losing my independence due to a life altering diagnosis or accident; or weighing long-term care options for my loved ones. It is human nature to want to “cross that bridge when we come to it,” but proactively preparing for aging and long-term care can help us avoid crisis mode. What if I told you that one call could open the door to community resources and information about long-term care options and supportive services? If you have a loved one who lives in central Indiana or you live here yourself, you need to be aware of CICOA and what we have to offer.

CICOA is Indiana’s largest Area Agency on Aging and serves Boone, Hamilton, Hancock, Hendricks, Johnson, Marion, Morgan, and Shelby Counties. CICOA is not a government agency, but oversees state and federal funds and private donations to provide information, advocacy and support services for older adults, people with disabilities, and family caregivers. CICOA provides home and community based services through services such as the Aging & Disability Resource Center, CareAware Caregiver Support, Flourish Care Management, Meals & More, Safe at Home, and Way2Go, Dementia Friends Indiana, and our volunteer program.

The Aging & Disability Resource Center offers a “No Wrong Door” approach to providing information, resources, programs and services. We receive calls from older adults; from the daughter caring for her mother with dementia; from the parent of a child with a disability; from healthcare providers who want to refer a patient for services. Every day we answer questions about transportation, safe and affordable housing, financial assistance, meals, and health insurance. Often the conversation starts with, “What should I do?” Our Phone Options Counselors explore options that best meet the needs, goals, and desires of each consumer.

Are you one of the 43.5 million* people in America who are providing care for a loved one? If you are, I can imagine you feel overwhelmed by a multitude of tasks, feelings, and decisions. CareAware Caregiver Support Services provides one-on-one options counseling for individuals of any income level, as well as group education. CareAware’s workshops are designed to reduce caregiver stress and raise public awareness of critical caregiving issues. For caregivers who are not quite ready to reach out for help, we offer a six-part video series and accompanying workbook to help meet the emotional, physical, and logistical demands of caregiving. Each video features interviews with subject matter experts and real life family caregivers. Check out the video series here: https://careawarejourney.org/

Flourish Care Management is a comprehensive service designed to meet the long-term care needs of older adults and people of any age with disabilities in a home or community-based setting. We strive to provide better health outcomes, better care, and at a lower cost than institutional care. From July 2018 to June 2019, our care managers provided continuous support and monitored client progress and functional needs through individualized care plans for 8,543 clients.

Meals & More offers appetizing, nutritionally balanced meals that are vital to sustaining health and quality of life for individuals who are homebound, unable to prepare meals, and have limited mobility and/or support systems. Home delivered meals are available to individuals who meet the criteria listed above and are at least 60 years of age or are the spouse of someone at least 60 years of age. Meals & More also has neighborhood meal sites in each of the eight counties

that we serve. In addition to the home delivered meal and neighborhood meal site programs, Meals & More offers two voucher programs, a commodity supplemental food program, and nutritional education workshops.

For many older adults and people with disabilities, home accessibility modifications are essential to successfully aging in place and maintaining independence. Safe at Home provides home improvements that promote accessibility and prevent accidents, such as adding grab bars and handrails, installing wheelchair ramps, and widening doorways. We will be celebrating our 10th annual Safe at Home event on September 28, 2019, where CICOA and community volunteers will meet in the Maple Crossing (Midtown) neighborhood and help make homes and yards safe and accessible for low-income senior homeowners.

Transportation is undeniably one of the most requested services at our agency. Our Way2Go program provides Door2Door, Shuttle Services, Taxi Discount Coupons, and Wheelchair Vouchers to residents of Marion County who are at least 60 years of age. Way2Go funded or directly provided 49,796 one-way trips from July 2018-June 2019.

As the growing number of Hoosiers affected by dementia continues to grow, so does the need for communities to better understand and accommodate the challenges of those affected by the condition. Dementia Friends Indiana seeks to advance dementia education and awareness, break down the stigma associated with the condition, and implement practical changes that make life easier to navigate for those living with dementia and their loved ones. Indiana became the 10th state in the nation to adopt the Dementia Friends movement and has provided education to nearly 2,700 people since conception in 2017. Each sector of a community has a unique role to play in contributing towards dementia friendliness, whether it is a hospital or health care setting, business or retail location, community-based services, faith communities, local government, or residential care. Learn what you can do to help at: www.dementiafriendsindiana.org.

If you are surprised by all that CICOA has to offer, you are not alone. Next time you see that royal blue tablecloth with “CICOA Aging & In-Home Solutions” printed boldly in white- stop by and chat! Remember, you do not need to be in dire need of our services to know who we are or what we have to offer; in fact, quite the opposite. If I can give you one piece of advice- be proactive in your long-term care planning. To learn more about our services or to find out if there is a volunteer opportunity that speaks to you, please contact our Aging & Disability Resource Center at 317.803.6131.

*[National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP. (2015). Caregiving in the

You can reach Melinda Winnie at 317-803-6253 or mwinnie@cicoa.org