“Growing up, at age 16 I had several grandparents who had dementia. My grandmother lived with us and my mother, cousin and I split our time caring for her and making sure she didn’t wander from their rooms. Every third night was mine,” Cayce said.
“After she died, we had two more impaired grandparents move in with us, and I saw the wear and tear on my mother, especially after I left to go to college. She died young, essentially of caregiver burnout.”
Cayce went on to begin a health care career and found herself drawn to physically helping people. “I found I really liked working with elderly people, so I went into long term care and rehab,” she said.
Now in that field for 37 years, Cayce was recently the recipient of the Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Person of the Year award for 2012. The award is given each year to the most outstanding small business executive in north Fulton County.
CaraVita Home Care, the business she founded in 1998, is based in Roswell. After starting out with just 10 caregivers, CaraVita now employs as many as 170 full and part time caregivers to provide in-home care services for more than 16,000 seniors in the north Fulton and metro area.
The company tailor makes and manages care plans for each client. In addition to allowing seniors to stay independent longer, the services give relatives and children some much needed respite. From firsthand knowledge, Cayce said relatives often feel guilty and try to do everything for their elderly themselves, which can be damaging to their own health.
“If I can stop just one family from doing that, I feel that I have done what I wanted to do here. I want to let them know they are not alone,” she said.
Born in Savannah, Cayce went to Georgia State’s school of physical therapy. She lived in Cobb County for several years and moved to Roswell 10 years ago.
Before founding CaraVita, Cayce was the CEO for TheraTX, which under her leadership became one of the fastest growing health care companies globally before it was sold in 1997.
Until last year, CaraVita’s offices were on Canton Street in Roswell. In expanding to Mimosa Boulevard, the company added its “Smart House,” a one-of-a-kind facility for Fulton County demonstrating the home modifications and technologies that support independence for seniors.
In the basement of the renovated home that serves as its headquarters, CaraVita is opening training academies for both nursing assistants and caregiving families.
As an advocate for seniors, Cayce played a critical role in the passage of the Aging in Place Bill (SB178), which permits communities to provide additional services to seniors in a setting of their choice.
She also serves as legislative chair for the Assisted Living Federation of Georgia, a board member for both Georgia Watch and Care to Learn International, chairs the Global Mission Team at Roswell United Methodist Church and serves as management agent for several senior living facilities.
For more information, go to www.caravitahomecare.com.