Council on Aging (COA) has recognized three area home health aides as 2022 Home Health Aide Heroes: Brett Syph, May Little and Candace Morris.
The honorees were selected from among nearly 100 area home health aides who were nominated in 2021 for COA’s Service Excellence Award. Nominations were submitted throughout the year by COA staff, clients and family members. Awards were presented at Council on Aging’s Forum on Aging conference, Aug. 25 at the Sharonville Convention Center.
This year’s honorees reflect admirably on a workforce that is critical to meeting the care needs of a growing population.
“Home health aides provide critical and often life-saving care for older adults who want to remain in their homes as they age,” said Council on Aging CEO Suzanne Burke, who presented the awards at the conference. “They provide very personal care, like bathing, and assist with everyday tasks such as cleaning and cooking. 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.”
The award winners were recognized at a special luncheon ceremony during the conference. In the audience were hundreds of conference attendees who work for, with and on behalf of older adults and people with disabilities – individuals who understand the important role home health aides play in helping their clients and patients remain independent at home. Honorees received an award as well as a cash prize.
Brett Syph – Top Honoree, $500 Prize
Brett Syph was nominated by Natalya Chernova of Nova Home Care. Syph has worked at Nova Home Care since March 2018 where he is respected by his coworkers and employer. In the nomination, Chernova said Syph is an employee who can always be counted on to go above and beyond for clients, and who possesses a special ability to work with clients who have higher care needs. He often fills in for team members, which has resulted in several instances where clients have requested Syph become their permanent aide.
“Brett is the epitome of what a caregiver should be. His character and work ethic far exceed any expectations that any company owner or client could hope any team member or caregiver to possess,” Chernova said in her nomination letter. She added, “Brett helps to improve the quality of [life] for many of our elderly population with his professionalism, knowledge, skills and heart of gold.”
Chernova shared an example of Syph’s commitment to his clients and his clients’ families: When one of his clients needed to transition to a nursing home, Syph used his personal time to be present and offer reassuring comfort when the family explained the move to his client.
“Brett is without any doubt a deserving candidate for the Service Excellence Award,” Chernova said.
May Little – Runner Up, $250 Prize
May Little was nominated by a care manager in the Warren County Elderly Services Program. The nomination letter highlighted Little’s ability to help clients navigate emotionally challenging circumstances and ultimately experience a higher quality of life.
The nomination letter explained that Little was able to work with a client to declutter and clean her home. The home’s condition had become a barrier to the client receiving other supportive services. Complicating the situation, the client was known to be very private and reluctant to receive help. Once the home was cleaned, the landlord was able to put in new carpeting and other resources were used to obtain furniture and a bed.
May has been a true blessing,” the nominator wrote. “She has made a significant difference in [my client’s] life in the short time she has been providing her homemaking services. [My client] describes May as the best aide she has ever had. Thank you, May for your hard work and dedication to your calling.”
Candace Morris – Runner Up, $250 Prize
Candace Morris was nominated by a Council on Aging care coordinator for providing compassionate care to her clients and always being willing to step up when needed.
In the nomination, the care coordinator explained how Morris went above and beyond to help a client who’d experienced a traumatic loss. The client lost his only informal support and caregiver. Suddenly alone, the client was not able to care for himself.
The nominator wrote, “I would like to nominate Candace for an excellence award because she has demonstrated such amazing compassion for my [client].” The nominator explained that Candace adjusted her schedule to meet the client’s needs, visiting twice a day for a month to ensure the client had what he needed at home until an alternate caregiving arrangement could be made.
“[Candace] was incredibly supportive, patient, and encouraging, helping him through such a difficult time. Her kindness, compassion, determination and encouragement made all the difference in this situation. I can honestly say that without Candace’s involvement, this situation could not have had the same outcome. I wish everyone we serve was lucky enough to have someone as wonderful as Candace in their lives,” the nominator said.
How to nominate someone for Council on Aging’s Service Excellence Awards
If you know a direct care worker employed within Council on Aging’s service provider network who provides superior care for our region’s older adults, nominate them on COA’s website. The Service Excellence Awards are now open to all direct care workers who serve clients enrolled in COA’s programs, including home delivered meals drivers and volunteers, adult day staff, home health aides and others. Visit the website for more information.