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  • Writer's pictureBob Long

Helping Older Adults with Limited Options

Sometimes life’s challenges are answered in the least expected moment in a surprising way. This happened recently to Tulissa, a 66 year-old mother of five and grandmother of nine.

Earlier this year, an unfortunate series of events occurred and put Tulissa's future into question. It began with a notice from her insurance company that the outside of her home was not up to their standard and she was at risk of losing her insurance. Not one to hide her head in the sand, she began to look for options and procured an estimate house painting and exterior work. The quote was for $6,000, a non-starter for a widow with a disability living on a fixed income. Her son checked into housing alternatives and found her an apartment but the monthly rent of $1,200 was double her present mortgage payment.

Tulissa has ten years left on her mortgage and intends to pay off the house. After 26 years in her home she has no intentions of pulling up roots.

Home maintenance had never been an issue when Tulissa and her late husband Derrick were raising their children. She worked as a notary and title clerk for a financial company for 22 years and he was a skilled carpenter who could handle any task. Derrick died without warning 11 years ago and Tulissa was left on her own. Since then, she's done what she could but that progressively becomes more limited.

Not too long ago, Tulissa was driving home mulling over her options, holding back tears, when a commercial came on the radio.

“It was for the Central Indiana Council on Aging (CICOA). I immediately pulled off the road, and called them" Tulissa explains. "They referred me to NeighborLink Indianapolis.”

It didn't take long for Tulissa to get connected from that moment. Over the last several months NeighborLink Indianapolis has been able to provide much needed assistance that will enable Tulissa to remain in her home, not only to appease insurance, but to make it safer and more stable for Tulissa. NLI repaired the outside siding, which had been damaged over the years by woodpeckers, raccoons and plants. They applied a new coat of paint which has rejuvenated the house’s exterior.

“Then they came out and surprised me by cleaning my gutters!” Tulissa said.

There are a few more things planned, such as a railing from her front porch to enable her to safely exit the house. After hip and knee surgery, this seemed like an absolute must.

With NLI's assistance, Tulissa has been able to stay in her home. In addition, she found a new company for her homeowners insurance and saved $1,900 per year.

“The NLI team are angels on earth" she exclaimed. "I wouldn't have been able to have all this work done. NeighborLink Indy are excellent people and I'm exceedingly grateful to them.”

Tulissa’s story is typical of what many older adults face. They’ve paid their dues, raising families and spending years in the workforce. They want to age in place in the familiar atmosphere of the homes that they have sacrificed to own and maintain over the years.

NLI provides services at no charge to the homeowner thanks to grants and generous donations of both time and treasure. As we enter into a season of giving, please consider helping homeowners like Tulissa by making a donation.

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