CICOA names caregiver of the year



CICOA Aging & In-Home Solutions presented its Caregiver of the Year Award to JoAnn Fowler Combs, Indianapolis, recently during its annual Signature Breakfast at Ritz Charles, Carmel.

“Caregiving requires a tremendous personal sacrifice of time and resources,” said Orion Bell IV, CICOA president and CEO. “This award was created to shine a light on caregivers like JoAnn Fowler Combs who willingly and compassionately take care of their loved ones despite the strain caregiving may bring to their own lives.”

Combs is one of the estimated 65.7 million people in the United States who provide care for an elderly or disabled family member. Because of caregivers like her, individuals are able to stay in their homes longer and lead lives of dignity and independence.

“Taking care of people – from the youngest ones to now older adults – it’s been a journey, but also a gift from God,” Combs said. “And to meet so many people in the community who are involved in the same mission of caregiving… it was a blessing to be there and to receive this honor. It’s something I never dreamed of.”

Combs’ daughter, Patrice Searcy, nominated her for the award.

In 2006, Combs began taking care of her sister who is paralyzed and suffers from mental illness, as well as her first mother-in-law, who suffers with Alzheimer’s disease. Combs provides their personal care. Her mantra of service does not stop with her own family. She also serves on the Parish Council of the St. Rita Catholic Church, and she is Grand Lady (president) of the Knights and Ladies of St. Peter Claver.