Some people are good at what they do, and some people are great at what they do. Advanced Health Care Aide, Leanne Martin, is great at what she does, which is why she received the Caregiver of the Year award from the Washington Home Care Association of America during their annual conference in May. The recognition came as a surprise to Martin; however, the award was much deserved says Julie Ferguson, administrator for Advanced Health Care. Ferguson is also a family member of one of Martin’s care recipients.
“I think every caregiver does this job to help people, so to be recognized like this is unexpected,” says Martin. “You do your best every day, and you hope that people appreciate the work that you are doing for them. Knowing that they do appreciate you feels really good.”
Martin has worked for Advanced Health Care for the past nine years. In that time, she has become a stand out caregiver. “We know with great confidence that she will do well with any placement,” says Ferguson, “and she knows how to do those little things that are meaningful for her clients.” From taking clients out for picnic lunches, to helping them go shopping, she takes the extra step to ensure everyone’s life will be as good as it can be, Ferguson explains.
Ferguson speaks very highly of Martin’s thoughtful caregiving. Sometimes being a caregiver can be difficult, as the aging process, with changes in health and mobility, can be frustrating for people. “She has a way of interacting with people that just puts them at ease,” says Ferguson. Her positive attitude, sound judgement and competence are all qualities that help her rise to the top as Washington’s top caregiver.
A caregiver’s job is different every day. Sometimes it is simply helping around the house, housekeeping and meal preparation. Other times caregiving may mean helping with errands or simply providing companionship. And on a rare occasion, a caregiver helps a client in the midst of a medical emergency. Martin has experienced it all in her nine years of caregiving. “We know that she can handle any situation she comes across,” Ferguson adds.
“I like helping and taking care of people,” says Martin. “I’ve always kind of been that way. It just comes naturally to me.”
And Martin’s clients agree. “She was nominated by my mom, and was also nominated by other clients as well,” says Ferguson.
Many clients led active busy lives before they started getting in-home care, says Martin, so she does her best to get them out of the house and keep them occupied. “Why not?” she says. “Many of my clients were active all their lives, and they don’t want to be cooped up in the house all the time.” Even if it’s raining, or a client’s mobility makes it harder for them to walk around, Martin takes them for walks in their wheelchair or drives them to a nice spot to enjoy the view of a local park or scenic views of Puget Sound.
Martin truly has found her calling in caring for others. Her job may be caregiving for clients, but she also cares for their families. “People invite me into their home, or their parent’s home,” she says, “I’m there to help however I can, and it’s a great responsibility taking care of their loved one.”
When Martin isn’t caregiving, she enjoys walking outdoors with her husband and puppy. She took up judo several years ago. And she also enjoys spending time with her adult son.
But even when she’s not at work, Martin is often thinking of her clients, planning fun things for them to do, or coming up with little things that will brighten their day. “I want them to have the best quality of life they can.” If you or someone you love could benefit from a home caregiver like Leanne Martin, check out Advanced Health Care on their website, or give them a call at 1-800-690-3330 to learn more about their services.