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Minister Deb Matthews helps to honour caregivers

Minister Deb Matthews with Heroes in the Home recipientMinister of Health and Long-Term Care Deb Matthews helped honour some very special caregivers at the annual Heroes in the Home Caregiver Recognition Awards ceremony in London on November 12.

Heroes in the Home is an annual awards program sponsored by the South West CCAC in partnership with the southwesthealthline.ca. Each year, South West CCAC patients and all others involved in home and community care, have the chance to nominate a special caregiver.

In her remarks, Matthews discussed the importance of home and community care as well as the tremendous respect she had for the caregivers assembled in the room.

"I think all parties agree that home care is the right investment to be making," she said. "It's about people who bring their heart and their soul to work every day and who give so much of themselves. You are doing the work of God, and I say that very sincerely. Thank you for what you're doing."

Ninety-one-year-old Joan Berry was among the night's nominees. For years, Joan did everything she could to help out her 88-year-old sister Pauline while she lived at home. In addition to helping her make meals and get dressed, Joan also did what she could to make sure her sister, who suffers from end-stage Alzheimer's, had as much entertainment in her life as possible.

"I used to sing with her, dance for her...we'd do ball room dancing and a slow foxtrot. She loved all the entertainment," said Berry.

Berry, like countless others, was nominated for her tireless commitment to going above and beyond to help someone she cared about. In total, more than 600 people attended this year's Heroes in the Home ceremonies at events held in Owen Sound, Stratford and London.

"This is the most important thing that the South West CCAC does," said South West CCAC CEO Sandra Coleman as she spoke at the event. "On our calendar, we look forward to these events unlike any others that we have the honour to be involved in."

Developed in the South West, the Heroes in the Home program has been recognized as an innovative leading practice by Accreditation Canada and seven other CCACs across Ontario are now hosting Heroes events.