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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Honoring those who make life better for older adults and people with disabilities

Three notable individuals were recognized for exceptional service and dedication at Council on Aging’s (COA)  44th Annual Meeting, March 4, at the Sharonville Convention Center.  Council on Aging Board of Trustees Chairman, William Thornton, presented the awards.

The mission of Council on Aging is to enhance the lives of adults and people with disabilities and to help them remain independent. This mission is made possible through the dedication and skill of our staff, but also through the efforts of countless caregivers and professionals who share our vision and work tirelessly to improve the lives of others throughout our region.

The awards and winners included:

2015 Annual Award Winners
Pictured (from left) Outstanding Services Provider, David Lytle, Council on Aging Board of Trustees Chairman, William Thornton, and Outstanding Caregiver, Donald Neyer 

President’s Award
Dr. Gregg Warshaw – Wyoming, Hamilton County

Council on Aging President`s Award is given to people who stick their necks out to help seniors. It honors those who are not afraid to take risks to make things better.

Since 1985, Dr. Gregg Warshaw has been the director of the Geriatric Medicine Program at the University of Cincinnati, College of Medicine.  He has been a Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine and the Martha Betty Semmons Professor of Geriatric Medicine. At the same time, he has served as Medical Director for Maple Knoll Village and as Medical Director for the University of Cincinnati’s Geriatric Evaluation Center.

For over 30 years, Dr. Warshaw has dedicated himself not only to caring for older patients, but to educating doctors in the practice of geriatrics. An innovator and advocate, Dr. Warshaw has long supported a multi-disciplinary team approach to caring for the elderly, recognizing that their health is affected by many factors outside the field of medicine. 

Doctors and other professionals who work with older adults look to him for coaching, mentoring, and advice. There is no doubt that quality of care for older adults has improved locally and nationally due to Dr. Warshaw’s teaching and leadership.

Ken Wilson, Vice President of Program Operations for Council on Aging, put it this way: “Gregg is a busy physician but always took time to talk with me when I needed his advice. He has a gentle and approachable spirit and truly understands health and long-term care from the patient perspective.  I think his greatest impact has been to train medical students with his perspective on the physician role in the growing need for geriatric care.  Mentoring this next generation of physicians is critical for providing quality care at a lower cost.”

Outstanding Caregiver
Mr. Donald Neyer – Montgomery, Hamilton County

This award honors an extraordinary caregiver who gives generously day in and day out so that others can have easier, better, and longer lives.

Mr. Donald Neyer and his wife, Phyllis, live in Twin Lakes Retirement Community in Montgomery, Ohio.  Don was nominated for the Outstanding Caregiver award by the couple’s eight children for the loving care he provides for their mother, who has dementia. 

As Phyllis’s mental abilities gradually diminished, Don provided care for her in their home.  He handled the cooking, laundry, shopping, medications, and driving. Don made it his business to help Phyllis look her best every day, selecting outfits and jewelry, helping her dress, and applying her makeup.  There have been many times when Don may have felt frustrated, but for Phyllis, his every action was done with love.

Like all the best caregivers, Don did not try to do everything alone. He had help not only from family, but he sought out home health aides, adult day service options, and caregiver support programs.  They took part in the Alzheimer Association’s Memories in the Making program. These mornings were a blessing for them both.  Phyllis was able to express herself through artwork and Don could share his struggles and triumphs with other caregivers experiencing the same. 

Don and Phyllis’s daughter stated in her nomination: “Dad brings our mother the sense of stability and order that he always has. But most importantly, he brings his love and acceptance to her – acceptance of all the changes, attempting to find new ways to show his love.”

Outstanding Service Provider

David Lytle of Clermont Senior Services

This award honors an individual who goes above and beyond in providing services to older adults to improve their quality of life and preserve their independence.

Dave Lytle joined Clermont Senior Services more than 15 years ago, first serving as a case manager. Soon his responsibilities expanded to court investigator of guardianship cases for Clermont County Probate Court. Then he became the lead investigator on referrals of suspected abuse, exploitation, and neglect.

Dave collaborates with many community partners to ensure the health and safety of the vulnerable seniors he serves. Many times, he has played a key role in exposing the exploitation of frail, impaired seniors who were victimized by scammers and con-artists. 

Rachel Snyder, Home Care Director for Clermont Senior Services, nominated Dave and states he has a passion for protecting the rights of older adults.  She added, his experience and willingness to confront difficult issues head-on makes him an outstanding Adult Protective Services investigator.  His methodology can defuse the most tense and unpredictable circumstances. He has the desire to help his clients improve their situation, while making sure their concerns are heard and their needs are addressed.

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