BC Care Awards: Featuring Care Provider of the Year (AL) Marilyn Kirkpatrick

Every year, the BC Care Awards celebrate care providers who go above and beyond delivering care to our seniors.

In this profile, we feature Care Provider of the Year (Assisted Living) award winner Marilyn Kirkpatrick from Benchmark Lifestyles Incorporated in Kelowna.

Here’s what Marilyn’s colleague and nominator Kevon Crumb had to say about her:

Marilyn Kirkpatrick has served as an administrator at our assisted living residence, Heritage House, in Oliver, B.C. since 2002.

Care Provider of the Year (AL) Marilyn Kirkpatrick featured in the Okanagan Edge

Her accomplishments through the years in a key leadership role have exemplified many of the attributes that you would want in someone charged with the responsibility of caring for your loved ones.

Marilyn’s unique set of talents and skills have served her well in that she has always exceeded expectations in our quest for best practice and excellence in client service and care.

She has risen to most challenges with a positive can-do attitude, and is willing to think outside the box in order to meet the needs of residents and staff. She is firm in her commitment regarding family support and the holistic approach of addressing not only physical needs but also spiritual, emotional, social and community.

Marilyn excels in every part of the operation of our seniors residence. Her competence and sensitivity is expressed with each new resident that makes Heritage House their home. Everything Marilyn does is done with expertise from years of experience, sensitivity, empathy and diligence — whether it is in the care of each resident or her attention to detail in making sure Heritage House is always maintained as if was just built yesterday. She takes an interest and pride in all that she does, from every detail of the physical building so the residents can enjoy it and feel proud to call it home, to the individual concerns of each resident or staff member.

An example of her expertise and tenacity is exemplified in meeting the continuing challenge of attracting and retaining staff in a very small rural community. Staffing issues in this industry are always difficult but in a population of only 9,000 residents in the town and surrounding community, this is an even greater challenge. Our aim is to attract qualified and caring staff and it’s one of Marilyn’s biggest challenges, but she has enjoyed remarkable success in hiring and training competent and caring staff who meets the expectations of our company. This alone is a remarkable achievement. It is also a reflection of her personality, warmth, and strong interpersonal skills.

Some of our residents have been there from the opening of Heritage House and they consistently express their appreciation for Marilyn and staff. They love their home but their genuine love for Marilyn underscores how much she means to them in their daily lives. They depend on her and a bond of trust has developed because of her caring, nurturing ways and her kindness. She really does go the extra mile and has willingly sacrificed much of her personal time and interests on their behalf.

She doesn’t subscribe to a “one size fits all” approach and is committed to supporting and finding appropriate solutions for the needs of each resident.

She is aware of the needs of her staff and continually finds ways to provide appropriate in-service training, counselling, and recognition of outstanding effort. She works hard to be inclusive with community and outside resources/agencies to ensure that the well-being and needs of residents and staff are being met.

Her sense of responsibility and her deep commitment to the needs of others makes her a rare gem and certainly one that deserves recognition in the industry.

The Care Provider of the Year (Assisted Living) award is sponsored by Care RX.