As we began the New Year, we would like to reflect a moment on the 2016 Caregiver of the Year, an annual award given by the Home Care Association of America (HCAOA) in recognition of exemplary commitment, compassion and empathy to clients and client families.
The Institute for Professional Care Education (IPCed) had the distinct honor of presenting the 2016 award to Betty Bibb, Community Care Coordinator with Home Helpers Home Care of Corsicana in Texas.
A two-time cancer survivor, Betty became a caregiver because she “wanted to comfort others as her husband had cared for and comforted her” while she was ill.
“I had breast cancer in 2003 and tonsil cancer in 2005, and came close to dying. While my husband took care of me, I gained a special perspective on what it is like to be both a caregiver and the one needing care. Ultimately, I developed a new level of compassion for my clients. To this day, I adore my clients – they’re like family to me.”
Originally having worked in skilled nursing facilities and home health as a Certified Nursing Aide (CNA). She trained as a Hospice Volunteer and began to serve friends and family with compassion as they faced end of life. This service continues even to this day.
For winning the Caregiver of the Year award, Betty received complimentary access to IPCed’s Online Campus, a library of over 800 courses focused on continuing education for caregivers in post-acute settings.
“I am really blessed to have the courses from IPCed,” says Betty. “So far I’ve finished eight courses. I start them at 6:30 AM and spend an hour learning new skills usually on Saturday mornings. I believe I can always learn new skills, which in turn helps me be mindful of doing my job even better. I never want to stop learning. I particularly loved the course on communication!”
Betty’s contributions have not gone unnoticed. She was recently promoted to Community Care Coordinator, and in addition to the award from HCAOA, she was also selected as the 2016 National Exceptional Caregiver of the Year by Home Helpers. However, one of the highest honors did not come in the way of formal recognition: when the owner of Home Helpers of Corsicana, Mark Thommarson, needed someone he trusted to care for his own mother, Betty was his choice. This is because Betty is able to relate to all her clients on a personal level by listening to them, attempting to meet their individual needs, and making them feel safe, secure and valued. She loves them like family. On Monday January 16th, 2017, Mark’s precious mother made her final journey home. Betty is so grateful to have been part of Mary Oleta Thommarson’s life and to have that special lady in her life, as well. “Loving and caring for her has changed me and left an unforgettable mark on my heart,” Betty shared. Many precious memories comfort her. Betty has the treasured video used in the Home Helpers Exceptional Caregiver of the Year award in May 2016 featuring Betty caring for Mark’s mom along with interviews with Mark and Betty. “I didn’t consciously make the decision to be a caregiver,” said Betty. “I think it’s just a calling that God has put on my life. I am joyful and fulfilled – this is very meaningful to me.”