Home Instead Senior Care has awarded Adelaide's Leonie McCallum 2015 Australian CAREGiver of the Year. The award recognises Leonie's outstanding commitment to providing quality, compassionate care that enhances the lives of seniors and their families.
Leonie, a mum of two, is recognised for her exceptional level of personal care, dedication to her diverse range of clients and impressive professional skills.
Mark McBriarty, Managing Director of Home Instead Senior Care Adelaide East said re-enablement and capacity building are hallmarks of Leonie's care. 'Leonie is relentless in her pursuit of enabling a better quality of life, by engaging her clients and rediscovering hobbies or interests that brings a sparkle to their eye," says Mark.
'Leonie is particularly special; she is positive, enthusiastic and encouraging yet humble, empathetic, and respectfully discreet. With a wonderfully witty sense of humour, Leonie never takes herself too seriously – but her steely determination in enhancing her client's circumstances is a constant reminder of how lucky we are to do what we do. Leonie always takes the lead and goes above and beyond in providing the care and support her clients and their families.
'For one particular client, Leonie's person-centred approach to care and effective leadership style ensured they were engaged and involved in all decisions – whether that be organising repairs and maintenance, designing weekly menus or choosing their next outing – the client always felt in control. With Leonie's assistance and direction, the client was able to visit the South Australia Zoo and Museum for the very first time, adopt a cat, socialise and eat a weekly lunch at the Hungarian Club.
'Leonie ensured his last moments at home were experienced exactly the way he wanted and he lived 15 months longer than his GP originally anticipated. Leonie consistently exemplifies what Home Instead Senior Care values look like when put in practice and is certainly the best example of what it means to be a Home Instead CAREGiver," says Mark.
Leonie says that she feels incredibly proud to be given this prestigious award. 'As people age, their independence is of the utmost importance to them. It's our job to give them freedom while also giving them the support that they need," says Leonie. 'Becoming a caregiver for me is truly rewarding, with great responsibilities and many challenges. I have met wonderful people from all walks of life. We build fulfilling relationships and make a positive difference in their lives. Through patience and active listening, a nonjudgmental attitude and being accepting of their limitations I hope to bring empowerment, dignity and comfort to their lives. To see our clients grateful for what we do for them is a reward in itself."
With a national network of 23 independently owned and operated offices in Australia, Home Instead Senior Care is a growing business that prides itself on providing seniors and their families the best in-home care they need to live independently at home. Whether it's a little extra help with meal preparation, escorting you to appointments, providing companionship whilst shopping or assistance with more complex care such as showering and dressing, or supporting palliative care at home; Home Instead Senior Care can help.
For more information on Home Instead Senior Care visit www.homeinstead.com.au
Question: How does it feel to win the 2015 Australian CAREGiver of the Year?
Leonie McCallum: It's so overwhelming. I am so honour and grateful to have won.
Question: What does this award mean, to you?
Leonie McCallum: It nice to have the recognition. I try to do my best every day, but working with my client and seeing them happy is a reward in itself.
Question: Can you talk us through why you originally became a caregiver?
Leonie McCallum: I have a genuine compassion to help others and always had a rapport with seniors and just hope that I could help out in some way.
Question: What advice do you have for others who wish to work in this field?
Leonie McCallum: Keep your training up to date, be compassionate, patient and respectful.
Question: Can you tell us about your workplace, Home Instead Senior Care?
Leonie McCallum: Home Instead senior Care is a network of locally owned and operated offices providing trusted services. Our office employs caregivers and staff who are engaged in their community and understand the resources that are available to deliver the best of care.
Question: As a Mum of two, how do you fit everything in?
Leonie McCallum: At times it is very hard to fit everything in. There just isn't enough time in the day to do everything I would like to get done but I have learnt to prioritize, delegate and to multitask.
Question: Can you talk us through some of the approaches you take to ensure a better quality of life for your clients?
Leonie McCallum: Through active listening we can find out about our clients and maybe rediscover a long forgotten hobby or interest. I also try to keep my clients independence, remembering it's not all about what we do for our clients but what we can achieve together.
Question: What's a typical day like, at work, for you?
Leonie McCallum: Because our clients have various needs and abilities our days can be varied. It can be a hand with the house work, escort to doctors' appointments, medication reminder, personal care, companionship or just going out for lunch and window shopping.
Question: How does every day at Home Instead Senior Care differ?
Leonie McCallum: Every day is different at Home Instead Senior care, like every client we care for is different. It about being flexible, finding out about our clients' needs and wants and delivering the best services we can.
Interview by Brooke Hunter