COA honors area home health aides as 2021 heroes

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Council on Aging (COA) is pleased to recognize three area home health aides as 2021 Home Health Aide Heroes: Deborah Grant (Clinton County Community Action Agency), Gwen Squire (A Miracle Home Care) and James Roe (Hillebrand Home Health). The honorees  were selected from among nearly 100 area home health aides who were nominated in 2020 for COA’s Service in Excellence Award. Nominations were submitted throughout the year by COA staff, clients and family members.  This year’s honorees reflect admirably on a workforce that is critical to meeting the care needs of a growing population – and that certainly deserves more respect.

Home health aides provide critical and often life-saving care for older adults who want to remain in their homes as they age. They provide very personal care – help with bathing, dressing and eating – as well as important everyday tasks like cleaning, cooking and running errands. Home health aides are in a position to get to know their care recipients intimately and can be the first to notice critical changes in physical and behavioral health.

But the stability home health aides provide is in jeopardy. Home health workers’ low wages, thin benefits, unpredictable schedules and other job challenges and stresses mean there is a shortage of qualified home health aides. As the economy has improved in recent years, many have left the industry for higher paying, more stable employment opportunities. Click here to read more. 

Council on Aging CEO, Suzanne Burke, presented awards to each honoree at their place of employment. Additionally, the honorees were recognized on April 21 during Council on Aging's virutal Forum on Aging conference. Conference attendees work for, with and on behalf of older adults and people with disabilities. They understand the important role home health aides play in helping their clients and patients remain independent at home. COA also presented a video highlighting the honorees and the role this critical workfoce plays in helping COA achieve its mission. The video also aired on WCPO, April 22. 

Deborah Grant

Ms. Grant was nominated by Clinton County Elderly Services Program (ESP) Care Coordinator, Carla McCauley, and Linda Rice, the sister of an ESP client. The nomination referenced the long-standing and life-saving care Ms. Grant provided to Ms. Rice’s sister, Sue.

The nomination stated that Ms. Rice appreciated the more than 10 years of care Ms. Grant provided for her sister. Ms. Rice said, “Debbie is invaluable for Sue. They have a long-standing, admirable friendship and know each other well. I don’t live with Sue, so I can’t always be there. Debbie is certainly someone to be counted on. So much so, that Debbie saved my sister’s life.”

Ms. Rice shared that during an appointment in 2020, Ms. Grant arrived at her sister’s home for her scheduled appointment but got no answer at the door. Instead of leaving, Ms. Grant entered the open apartment and found Sue in her bedroom – unresponsive and in trouble. Ms. Grant called 911, likely saving Sue’s life.

Ms. Rice said, “I don’t know if Sue would have made it if Debbie hadn’t gone to the apartment when she did. I can’t say enough about my sister’s services! Thank you for everything you do.”

Click here to read more about how Ms. Grant’s care impacted Sue – and Ms. Rice’s – life.

Ms. Grant received a $500 prize from Counci on Aging. 

Gwen Squire

Ms. Squire was nominated by Council on Aging Care Coordinator, Joan Long.  In many cases, the care provided by a home health aide benefits not only the older adult, but also the family members who are also providing care to their loved one.

Here’s what Ms. Long had to say about the care Ms. Squire provided for a couple grappling with the effects of Alzheimer’s Disease:

Gwen has been caring for our client for the past year, who has Alzheimer’s Disease. Gwen’s help is essential for our client – and her husband – to remain in their home. Gwen provides respite (time off) for the husband, who serves as our client’s primary caregiver. Gwen provides personal care; cleans the client’s bedroom and bathroom; and provides learning time. The client’s husband described Gwen as: super, kind, loving, caring, patient, dependable, and part of our family. He said, “We are able to stay at home because of Gwen's help.

Ms. Squire received a $250 prize from Council on Aging.

James Roe

Home health aides are often required to provide complicated and physically demanding care. James Roe is the type of aide who is willing to do whatever it takes to make sure his clients are comfortable and safe. Mr. Roe was nominated by Council on Aging Care Coordinator, Cheryl Porter.

Here’s what Ms. Porter had to say about the care Mr. Roe provided for a particular COA client:

On behalf of Council on Aging, my client and the client’s family, I wish to recognize James Roe from Hillebrand Home Health for exemplary home health care service. James surpassed all expectations in providing skilled and compassionate care, always making sure that the client was clean, comfortable and safe. James was trusted by the client in assisting with difficult transfers in/out of bed. James deftly used the Hoyer lift and other techniques to reduce the client’s pain and discomfort. James’ skills, exceptional care and willingness to work extra shifts shows his extraordinary commitment in caring for others. Thank you for all that you do!

Mr. Roe received a $250 prize from Council on Aging.

2021 Home Health Aide Award Winners