Security Inside and Out: Rediscovering Independence
“It’s a brand-new life again, I am working and doing things outside and around the house... You have given me a new reason to live!”
Unsure of her continued ability to live on her own, Candida of Poughkeepsie reached out to Rebuilding Together Dutchess County in hopes of finding some solutions for maintaining her independence and sense of security. Candida is a 79-year-old widow who lives alone. She has resided in the home, which was built in 1944, for over 25 years. Born in Puerto Rico, she came to the U.S. when she was 10-years-old, with her three siblings and her grandmother, and lived in the Bronx for 44 years before moving to the Hudson Valley.
Candida takes great pride in her home but struggled with the necessary repairs in recent years due to her fixed limited income. Her son Albert would go to the house every year and make necessary repairs, such as installing a sump pump, replacing the broken furnace, and keeping up with the painting. However, due to travel restrictions, he has not been able to visit for the past three years and consequently the house has suffered from neglect.
Many repairs had to be done at her home in order to provide her the security and confidence to remain there and live comfortably, safely, and independently. Rebuilding Together and the volunteer team from United Methodist Church of Hyde Park repaired the back deck and stairs, replaced a side walkway to the house, installed grab bars in the bathroom, and handrails on the stairs. They addressed windows which were inoperable and leaked cold air in the winter, and even replaced the toilet, which she couldn’t flush – ashamedly admitting she had to use a plunger every time she used it.
Candida had open heart surgery after a heart attack in recent years, and hasn’t been able to keep up with the house since. Before the surgery she had been able to do a lot of work around the house, but was told she could not lift, paint, or do yard work after the surgery, which greatly depressed her. While reflecting she said, “I was always like a bee – in and out – but now with surgery and the diabetes it has slowed me down.”
Her home was the first house she saw when searching for a home in the Hudson Valley, falling in love with it at first sight. She liked her neighbors very much, and shared: “I feel sad that all of those who were around when I moved in are now gone.” Worried that she might need to leave as well due to the struggles she has been experiencing, she reached out to Rebuilding Together. The result has literally granted her a new lease on life to continue living where she feels most comfortable in the place she loves, her home. “It’s a brand-new life again, I’m working, doing things outside and around the house, throwing things out, organizing the whole house. You have given me a new reason to live!” Candida exclaimed.
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