By Beth Taylor
Formerly known as the Central Indiana Council on Aging, CICOA Aging and In-Home Solutions is an invaluable resource center for older adults and people with disabilities, as well as for those who care for them. CICOA serves those in need in Marion County and the seven surrounding counties.
“Our goal is to meet the unmet needs of those who need help,” said Kate Kunk, caregiver options counselor at CICOA. Areas in which CICOA can provide assistance include finding help with personal care and daily living tasks, meals and transportation.
CICOA’s Way2Go transportation service helps people who can’t drive or who need special assistance with transportation. CICOA drivers can help seniors get to medical appointments, pharmacies, and grocery stores.
The State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) helps seniors figure out Medicare options. SHIP counseling is provided through telephone or face-to-face interactions, public education presentations, and media activities. “Counselors are trained to provide unbiased advice about Medicare and healthcare options,” Kunk said. Counselors can also help with finding assistance for insurance co-pays, monthly premiums, and annual deductibles.
The innovative WeCare program partners Fishers Fire and Emergency Services with CICOA Aging & In-Home Solutions to help prevent accidents and act as a safety net for senior citizens. Injuries resulting from falls are a major cause of EMS responses leading to hospitalization. “Our hope is that the first responders may see that certain needs aren’t being met and refer the individual to us for help,” Kunk said. The WeCare program will enhance access to all of the social services available through CICOA.
“I believe the Fishers team is in an excellent position to identify potential consumers of CICOA services and refer them to CICOA wherever possible. One of the great things about the partnership is that it will help to get the word out about what is available. I am always surprised to discover that someone is unaware that services exist—and yet, this is not an uncommon scenario,” Kunk said.
Getting adequate nutrition to seniors in need can be challenging. CICOA’s Meals & More program provides meals to the homebound 60 years of older. For those who can drive, there are neighborhood meal sites, where seniors can enjoy companionship as well as a meal.
For more information on CICOA resources and services, go to www.cicoa.org