Catholic Charities Indianapolis, a United Way agency, reaches out to vulnerable older adults through its Senior Companion Program. SCP offers in-home care to frail, low-income seniors and respite for their caregivers by providing socialization, assistance with meal preparation and escort to medical appointments. The agency has made a particular effort to make SCP services known to residents of a subsidized adult housing apartment complex on Indianapolis’ northwest side.
“Mona,” 77, and “Sophia,” 79, are both African-American women living in this complex. Mona is a Senior Companion volunteer who was matched with Sophia, a widow on a fixed income struggling to maintain her independence and stay in her own apartment. Sophia has Alzheimer’s and her health is declining. Her daughter is her primary caregiver but she works two jobs. Since it is impossible to be with her mother on a daily basis, she relies heavily on Mona to keep her informed. Mona often sees things that the daughter may miss. The family is grateful for the care their mother receives and the weekly updates.
Mona maintains a 5-day, 20-hour official weekly visitation schedule, helping Sophia with meals and chores. Mona prepares Sophia’s meals, thus assuring that she maintains a healthy eating schedule. Mona also encourages Sophia to walk with her, either outdoors if weather permits, or inside the complex’s connecting hallways.
Since the two are close neighbors, Mona often checks in with Sophia “off the clock” to make sure her friend is OK. Mona says, “you get up in the morning ready to go; it feels good to know someone needs you.”
Since 1923, UWCI has invested nearly $26.8 million to help Catholic Charities Indianapolis provide services for low-income individuals and families including counseling, family services, senior services, caregiver support, educational and social programming for at-risk youth, refugee services, crisis assistance, emergency shelter and transitional housing. United Way’s funding includes over $1.1 million in grants from the Capital, Technology and Facilities Maintenance funds. (These were funded with monies contributed specifically for these needs and do not come from the annual campaign.) For the current funding year, the agency’s UWCI Community Fund allocation is $538,383.