HILLSBOROUGH – Last fall, Hurricane Ida pummeled the Northeast, causing widespread flooding, power outages, and road closures. Tanya Todd, a caregiver for Right at Home, lost her house, her car, and many personal possessions. But that didn’t stop her from going to work and caring for her clients.
Last month, Todd received the Northeast Caregiver of the Year award for her resilience throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and Hurricane Ida.
Out of 25,000 caregivers around the country, Todd was among the 422 nominated to win the award based on her “client impact, brand ambassadorship, peer leadership, and resilience,” and one of eight to be lauded with a regional Caregiver of the Year award.
The award is in its 11th year, and, as Right at Home Director of Employee Experience Stacey Buechler puts it, is designed to “recognize our caregivers who go above and beyond the day-to-day requirements on a national level.”
“When the corporate team got to interview her, we realized that she is one of those caregivers that will stand in the face of a large challenge and work as hard as she can to make it smaller,” said Buechler. “In her own words, her philosophy is to ‘treat others as you want to be treated,’ and it is because of her humble and hardworking mindset that she deals with some of the more difficult clients that have more severe illnesses, like dementia.”
Todd, who has been a caregiver for over 30 years, placed her clients’ well-being as a priority, despite having faced losses in her family from COVID-19 and even being hospitalized herself. Once she was cleared to return to work, she faithfully showed up every day to care for her clients, only missing one shift of work last year from the road closures caused by the hurricane.
“It’s part of her DNA to be a caregiver. No matter where she goes, she’s always taking care of people,” said Janet Kuebler, who owns the Right at Home office in Hillsborough and nominated Todd herself for the award. “Her outgoing and friendly personality, and her willingness to always put others before herself gives her the X factor that makes her such a wonderful caregiver.”
During the pandemic, long-term care facilities dealt with a national increase in deaths, infection control issues and a shortage in personal protective equipment.
“Residents felt more isolated because they were not allowed to congregate in their facilities, and they were dependent on employees to help keep them company,” Kuebler said. “Tanya always came to work smiling. One client was resistant to getting a flu shot, and Tanya was able to talk her into getting one, and this is just one case of many where she was able to bring an immediate, helpful impact to our facilities.”
Todd, who has been with Right at Home for more than three years, continues to serve clients in Somerset and Hunterdon counties.
As one of the families of Todd’s clients called her, “She’s more than just a caregiver. She’s a lifelong friend.”