Georgia Trend - May 2013

Small Business Person of the Year

Bobby Nesbitt 2013-04-24 12:11:04

Beth Cayce, founder and CEO of CaraVita Home Care, has been named Georgia’s 2013 Small Business Person of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration. She will be honored along with winners from other states during the annual National Small Business Week in June. Georgia’s 2013 Small Business Person of the Year finds success helping others When Beth Cayce decided to start her own business, she was well prepared. She had the educational background, she had many years of experience in the field, and especially important to her, she believed she had a mission to fulfill. “My vision is to help our community embrace aging in place rather than dread the effects of aging,” she says. “I want to be a pioneer and help families understand how to be a better caregiver. Caring for an aging family member who is ill or dealing with Alzheimer’s and dementia is a challenging situation. We want to provide care but we also want to educate the caregiver to make the process easier. I did not have that support with my family, but now I can give it to others.” Cayce is fulfilling her vision through her company, CaraVita Home Care, which has served more than 16,000 seniors in the metro Atlanta area since she founded the company in 1998. CaraVita provides in-home personal care services, but it also provides training and education for both professionals and family members. The company name even reflects her vision. “A combination of Latin and Italian, it means ‘care of precious life,’” Cayce says. CaraVita offers a Caregiver Academy for families to learn the skills necessary to provide care for loved ones, and, in 2012, opened a Certified Nursing Assistant School for the training of professional nursing assistants. The company’s Roswell headquarters features a “smart house,” showcasing how a home can be equipped with technology and equipment that help seniors remain independent longer. “I wanted to have a house to show people how they can adapt their own homes,” Cayce says. “We don’t sell anything but we have a resource center with information on the products, all of which we have tested and demonstrate in the smart house.” CaraVita is also a community site for the Virtual Dementia Tour, a program of Second Wind Dreams, where caregivers and families can experience how it feels to have dementia and then find out the best way to provide help. “The uniqueness of our agency is that our health care team has been hand-picked to truly help families in understanding the needs their loved ones have as they age or experience dementia, to provide both the families and in-home caregivers coaching throughout the process of caregiving and to be a one stop resource in the process,” Cayce says. “Our professional team is made up of nurses, therapists and social workers who have the knowledge to make the journey easier with good informa tion and support as seniors need help to remain as independent as possible.” Cayce’s professional caregiving career spans 38 years, but on a personal level she has been helping care for others since she was 16. As a teenager growing up in Savannah, she was an in-home caregiver to aging grandparents and an aunt before going off to college at Georgia State University, where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Therapy and a master’s degree in Health Leadership and Administration. Following college, she worked in a variety of increasingly responsible positions with hospitals, nursing homes and companies in the nursing and senior living business. She originally founded a company that owned and operated more than 20 assisted living and independent living centers in the Southeast. Cayce says she sold the centers to focus on her “love and passion” of providing in-home health care and education of caregivers, although she still manages Woodland Ridge Assisted Living Center in Smyrna. “We started CaraVita Home Care with nothing and simply by word of mouth grew to about $60,000 a month in about a year,” Cayce says. “Today, we do about $300,000 a month in home care.” The company has some 170 employees. “All of our employees have specialized training,” Cayce says. “Training is the number one thing we do and I give credit to all the people who work here for our growth.” “I have learned the hard way how far simple compassion and dedi - cation to a family member can go,” Cayce says. “I have learned that you cannot do it all. My mother died when she was 52. For many years, she was the primary caregiver for three of my grandparents. I believe my mom would not have died that young if something like CaraVita had been there to help her. “My passion is that I can use all of the things I have learned in all of my health care jobs to guide our team to advocate for families and meet their unique family needs. My vision is to arm them with information and education at our Academy, one-on-one on the phone or in the home, and to provide the best trained staff to help with care needs in the home of those we serve.” Cayce’s passion for helping others extends to her volunteer work. She helped found Care to Learn International, a mission in Kenya that has already helped 72,000 people.

Published by Morris Business Media / Georgia Trend . View All Articles.

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