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Illinois Caregiver Beth Harvey Receives Accolades from the State of Illinois Community Care Program

Congratulations to Help at Home Caregiver Beth Harvey from Fairfield, IL, who was named Home Care Aide of the Year!  

Beth’s affirming manner with clients is one of the reasons she was named as Home Care Aide of the Year. She was praised for the respectful way that she puts clients at ease through her gentle caregiving mannerisms. 

Caregiving starts as a family matter for Beth 

Beth has been caregiving for Help at Home for 13 years, but her experience with caregiving goes back further still. She was the primary caregiver for a family member after he was injured at work.  

That experience came to mind when she was looking for a job and saw caregiving openings. “I thought, that’s something I can do,” she said. “And I appreciated the hours and flexibility.” 

Her life experiences – both in caring for a family member – and in dealing with other family losses have enabled her to bring a distinct perspective to the work.  

Beth also shows respect for clients by looking at things from their perspective. For example, many clients get very nervous about upcoming doctor’s appointments. They worry that they’ll be late or miss the appointment. They may remind their caregiver many times, weeks ahead of time, about the appointment. It would be easy to get frustrated at the reminders or take them personally.  But Beth recognizes it as a sign that the appointment is important to the client and that they’re nervous about having to depend on someone else to get there. She uses it as an opportunity to reassure the client.  “I have it on my schedule!” she will say. “I won’t miss!”  

For many years at Help at Home, Beth has changed the lives of so many clients, but she says she still gets nervous on the first day with a new client.  

“The hardest part for me is going to a new client in a new home,” she said. She gets through it by reminding herself to focus on what the client is experiencing.  

She said that some clients aren’t sure they even want a caregiver, are afraid that the caregiver is judging them for needing help with the housework, or that they will be embarrassed having a stranger help.  

“They are more nervous than we are,” she said. 

She makes the first meeting less awkward by focusing on their needs, asking what they would like her to clean? Is there something they would like her to organize? Would they like her to paint their nails? Many clients may be reluctant to tell you what they most want you to help with but will appreciate being given options.  

“All that matters is today,” she said. “None of us knows if you’re going to be here tomorrow. Just focus on the day and whatever they may need that day.”