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Mariposa Gardens care aide honoured to be nominated for prestigious provincial award
Going to work to take care of the needs of dozens of senior residents in Osoyoos has become a labour of love for Rob Hopkins.
His endless patience – as well as his commitment and dedication to his clients – has seen Hopkins be nominated for Care Provider of the Year, a provincial competition for home care aides in British Columbia.
Hopkins, 57, who has worked at Mariposa Gardens residential care facility for the past eight years, was nominated for the prestigious award by Mariposa Gardens’ general manager Barry Hengel..
“Rob has been an integral part of excellence in health care at Mariposa Gardens since February of 2009,” wrote Hengel in the nomination papers filed to the BC Care Providers Association. “He continually demonstrates a magnanimous skill level and compassion for all who come into his care.
“Rob has been working since 2009 as a care aide in the most secure neighbourhood (Memory Lane) at Mariposa Gardens, servicing a mixed population of advanced dementia, behavioral response (potentially violent) and socially inappropriate residents.
“Furthermore, the Interior Health Authority has identified Mariposa and Memory Lane as the de facto neighbourhood to which high risk residents can be safely placed for the entire South Okanagan.”
Hopkins always puts residents and staff ahead of himself, never complains and leads by example at all times, said Hengel.
“Rob is perhaps the single most recognizable person at Mariposa Gardens who defines what this award stands for,” said Hengel. “His skill level, compassion and commitment to excellence has always been recognized by all of his peers, including co-workers, supervisors, management, licensing and ownership.
“His co-workers and supervisors always look to him for leadership and for setting the tone in the neighbourhood. All students who train under Rob’s direction have always commented on how relaxed and calm Rob is when delivering care. He never gets rattled and this has always left a strong impression for these soon-to-be healthcare professionals.
“In closing, it is with great appreciation and gratitude that I nominate Rob Hopkins for this award and all those who know him acknowledge him as most deserving.”
Hopkins said becoming a care aide after close to 30 years working in industry – including 18 years helping make bus coaches at the older General Coach plant in Oliver – was a very wise decision.
“This is the best job I’ve ever had, by far,” he said. “I get to use my sense of humour every single day and I get to help people, which brings me a great deal of satisfaction.”
It takes a great sense of humour and endless patience to become an effective care aide, said Hopkins.
“I love joking around and I can sense the clients know that I’m having a good time helping them out,” he said. “A lot of them no longer possess great communication skills, but they do know a nice smile and that I enjoy working with them and that’s why I get so much pleasure from this job.”
Being a care aide isn’t a glamorous job, but one that is exceptionally rewarding, said Hopkins.
A typical day shift includes getting a handful of residents out of bed, helping them get showered and dressed up, transported downstairs to breakfast and trying to spend a little quality time with them if possible, he said.
“My job is to try and provide them with anything and everything they need to get through their day,” he said. “A lot of the residents have challenges and there can be frustration, but I try to be very patient with them.
“This is a job I most certainly could not have done as a younger man, but it fits who I am at this point in my life just perfectly. I’m making a difference and helping people and that means a lot to me.”
While he works extremely hard and isn’t shy to announce he thinks care aids like him in private facilities like Mariposa Gardens should be better paid, Hopkins said job satisfaction is extremely important to him at this stage in life.
“I have a good time and take great pride in providing excellent service to the residents,” he said. “When I get off shift, I almost always feel great at the end of the day.
“I get to be myself on this job every single day. I like to work hard and I like to joke around and help people and that’s what this job is all about.”
Hopkins thanked Hengel for nominating him for the Care Provider of the Year award.
Hopkins, who grew up in Osoyoos, now lives in Oliver with his wife. His parents Dale and Joyce still reside in Osoyoos. One of his daughter’s works in the radio industry in Comox and his other daughter works in the restaurant industry in Kelowna.
Hopkins said he hopes to continue his career at Mariposa Gardens for years to come.
“Like I said, this is the best job I’ve ever had and it gives me the most job satisfaction, so I couldn’t really see myself doing anything else.”
Senior management with the BC Care Providers Association are expected to announce the winner of the Care Provider of the Year sometime in the next couple of months.