COLUMBUS - The Ohio Department of Aging today issued a call for nominations for its annual Elder Caregiver Awards. The honor recognizes outstanding individuals who have taken on the responsibilities of caring for a friend, loved one or neighbor, while also balancing other work and family responsibilities.
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 the individual is nominated must not be job-related. The nominated individual, or a representative if he or she is unable, must 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, 2011. Those chosen will receive the award in the spring.
"Ensuring the highest possible quality of life for all Ohioans is a driving force for the Department of Aging, and it is this same principle that drives devoted caregivers," said Bonnie Kantor-Burman, director of the department. "We are looking for individuals who have dedicated their lives to the care of others, but who also recognize their limits, ask for help and use available resources to the benefit of themselves and those for whom they care."
Nearly two million Ohioans are caregivers. If provided by paid caregivers, the work they do 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. Nominations will be evaluated on the impact on the caregiver and his or her family, unique or innovative approaches to caregiving, sources and types of care assistance used, special circumstances or barriers, impact on the care recipient, the severity of the recipient's condition and the difficulty of care provided.
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.
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