AMERICUS, Ga. – The Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving (RCI) and Seniorlink today announced the winners of the 2020 Georgia Caregiver of the Year Awards. Alesia Simon of Bowdon is the Family Caregiver of the Year; Javoski Harden of Macon is the Volunteer Caregiver of the Year; and Camille Adams of Rome is the Para-professional Caregiver of the Year. Each of the winners, nominated by Care-Net partners across the state, will receive a gilded rose and a check for $1,000.
Honorees were recognized this week with drive-by celebrations with the RCI and Care-Net teams. At each stop, caregivers were met with applause, balloons, and in Alesia’s case, a police escort and mayoral citation. This annual recognition comes during November’s National Family Caregiver Month, a nationwide celebration of the men and women who support individuals in need of care.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced what our founder, former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, has long known to be true, and what our team sees when working with some of America’s 53 million caregivers: caregivers are the invisible frontline of our health care system, and they deserve our recognition and support,” said Dr. Jennifer Olsen, Executive Director of RCI. “The Georgia Caregivers of the Year, and all of this year’s nominees, exemplify the strength, resilience, and compassion of caregivers everywhere. It’s our honor to celebrate their amazing contributions to our communities.”
Seniorlink, which is a tech-enabled health services company focused on keeping care in the home where family caregivers play a pivotal role, generously serves as this year’s sponsor for the Georgia Caregiver of the Year Awards.
“The team at Seniorlink sends our warmest thanks and congratulations to Javoski, Alesia, and Camille, and to all of the caregivers across Georgia and beyond who selflessly provide care to people in need. Seniorlink is committed to celebrating and supporting caregivers nationwide, and it was our distinct honor to sponsor the Georgia Caregiver of the Year Awards as a sign of that commitment,” said Shikira Wallace, Georgia’s Manager of Program Development, Seniorlink.
MEET THE GEORGIA CAREGIVERS OF THE YEAR
Volunteer Caregiver of the Year Javoski Harden has increasingly taken on caregiving duties for a neighbor and friend. He was living next door to a former professor of his at Mercer University, and would occasionally take her husband, who suffers from memory loss, on outings. After a fall left the care recipient unable to walk, Javoski did research, talked to other caregivers, and was able to help his care recipient make more progress than even the doctors and nurses had facilitated.
Margaret Eskew, the wife of Javoski’s care recipient, writes in his nomination, “With a ready smile and a disposition to please, Javoski seemingly effortlessly draws people to him…[his] joy is infectious.”
Family Caregiver of the Year Alesia Simon provided care to her late mother while she was battling cancer at the same that her father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. She continues to care for her father, who needs significant help on tasks such as eating, bathing, medications, and more.
Brooke Rakestraw from HCBS Case Management Services praised Alesia for her “unwavering dedication” to her caregiving role. “Alesia proves time and again to be a determined caregiver who works hard to make ends meet and to ensure her father has enough food and items that he needs for him to remain at home,” she writes.
Para-professional Caregiver of the Year Camille Adams is a Service Coordinator at All Ways Caring of Rome, working with the residents of the Cedar Heights Apartment for more than a decade. Her colleagues say she is loved by all, consistently goes above and beyond her duties, and always displays patience and compassion with her clients.
“She has been a loyal and trustworthy caregiver for many of our residents over the years. She is dependable and caring. She always has a smile and a good word for everyone she meets,” writes Dennis McCrary in his nomination of Camille.