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Ohio Department of Aging Press Release

Sept. 1, 2010

Department Seeks Nominations of Outstanding Elder Caregivers

Annual Honor Pays Tribute to Personal Dedication, Love and Sacrifice

COLUMBUS - The Ohio Department of Aging today issued a call for nominations for its annual Elder Caregiver Award. The honor recognizes outstanding individuals who sacrifice their time and independence to provide much-needed care to a loved one who is aging or who has a disability.

To be eligible for the Elder Caregiver Award, either the caregiver or care recipient must be age 60 or older. One also must be a current resident of Ohio, and the caregiving for which they are nominated must not be job-related. The nominated individual must be aware of and consent to the nomination. Individuals and organizations interested in nominating a neighbor, colleague, family member or friend may submit a nomination online or download a nomination form at www.aging.ohio.gov/news/nominations/. The department will accept nominations through Sept. 30, 2010. Those chosen will receive the award in the spring.

"Ohioans who care for loved ones and neighbors at home often make sacrifices the rest of us just cannot understand," said Barbara E. Riley, director of the department. "They put their lives and, sometimes, careers on hold, spend their own savings, modify their homes and do so much more, for the simple reward of knowing that someone else has a better life thanks to them. For these reasons, and many more, we need to recognize them."

Nearly two million Ohioans are caregivers. The work they do, if provided by paid caregivers, would be valued at more than $14 billion. Informal caregiving helps give individuals independence and choices in how they receive the care they need. It also reduces families' dependence on formal home care and helps them avoid or delay nursing home placement.

Caregiving has many faces. A caregiver could be a wife helping her husband through a bad spell, a son helping his mother deal with the ravages of dementia, a Good Samaritan who dutifully helps a neighbor with errands and chores, aging parents caring for a son or daughter with a disability - there are many more examples.

The department will select honorees from across the state to symbolically represent all Ohioans who give their time, their resources and themselves to improve the quality of life of those around them. Nominations will be evaluated on the care recipient's condition, the difficulty of care provided, any unique or innovative approaches to caregiving used by the nominee, any special circumstances or barriers the caregiver faces, how the nominee utilizes the resources and assistance available to him or her and the impact of care provided on the recipient and his or her family.

About ODA - The Ohio Department of Aging provides leadership for the delivery of services and supports that improve and promote quality of life and personal choice for older Ohioans, adults with disabilities, their families and their caregivers. Working with 12 area agencies on aging and other community partners, the department offers home- and community-based Medicaid waiver programs such as PASSPORT, the long-term care ombudsman program, the Golden Buckeye Card and more. Visit www.aging.ohio.gov.