Caregiver award

Katherine Weaver (middle), a social worker at Winder Health Care and Rehabilitation, received the 2021 Para-professional Caregiver of the Year Award from the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregivers (RCI) last week. She is pictured with Carrie Harris (left), community engagement coordinator for RCI, and Dr. Jennifer Olsen, CEO of RCI.

The Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregivers (RCI) and Seniorlink today announced the winners of the 2021 Georgia Caregivers of the Year awards, and a local caregiver was among the recipients.

Katherine Weaver, a social worker at Winder Health Care and Rehabilitation, was named the 2021 Para-professional Caregiver of the Year and was honored at the facility Nov. 3 in a surprise drive-by celebration. Weaver received a gilded rose, a citation signed by former First Lady and RCI founder Rosalynn Carter and a $1,000 check.

Weaver’s award and two other awards handed out by the institute — Family Caregiver of the Year and Volunteer Caregiver of the Year — came at the start of National Family Caregivers Month, a nationwide celebration every November of the men and women who support individuals in need of care.

“The Georgia Caregivers of the Year celebration is an opportunity for us to recognize the tremendous contributions of caregivers to our health care system, our economy and our communities,” said Dr. Jennifer Olsen, chief executive officer of RCI, in a news release. “Our three winners are strong, resilient, inspiring individuals who consistently put the needs of the people they care for first, and their stories are representative of the experiences of the more than 53 million caregivers in America. But at the same time that we thank and celebrate individual caregivers, we must continue to advocate for better services, support, and responsive policies for all caregivers. Caregivers are at a breaking point, and we must do better to understand and prioritize their well-being.”

This was the second year of sponsorship of the awards by Seniorlink, a tech-enabled care management company focused on keeping care in the home where family caregivers play a pivotal role, according to the release.

“The team at Seniorlink sends our warmest thanks and congratulations to the incredible 2021 Georgia Caregivers of the Year and to the nominees and all caregivers across Georgia who selflessly provide care to people in need,” said Kimberly Woods, community liaison for Seniorlink. “Seniorlink is committed to celebrating and supporting caregivers nationwide and it was our distinct honor to support the Georgia Caregivers of the Year Awards as a sign of that commitment.”

Weaver consistently refers clients to the Nursing Home Transition (NHT) and Community Transition programs, supporting families in their efforts to stay in home- and community-based settings, according to the release. In 2019, she was named Social Worker of the Year by the Northeast Georgia Regional Commission-Area Agency on Aging.

“Katherine has been able to recognize and motivate the full potentials in her consumers while remaining person centered,” Katrina Ogbe of the Northeast Georgia Regional Commission wrote in her nomination of Weaver for the statewide award. “She has been known to follow up with every consumer who leaves and even visit with several after discharge.”

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