Caregiving has always been a part of life for Alene Martin.
As the second of five children, she spent a lot of her adolescence helping her busy mother, who worked two jobs to support the family, care for her younger siblings.
“We really didn’t know we were poor. My mom worked so hard, and I wanted to help her. I didn’t find out until I was much older that there were times she would cry because we didn’t have enough food for everyone.”
When Alene was nine years old, her Aunt Mary lost both of her legs from diabetes. Because of her condition, her aunt lived in a nursing home, and Alene would visit to care for her. The nursing home staff did not adequately care for her aunt, and she saw that first-hand by observing bed sores on her body regularly. It was from this experience that Alene made a promise to never let such a horrific situation happen to another family member…or anyone else.
Her aunt passed away while in the nursing home, and soon after her Uncle Robert needed support. Alene (filled with a new resolve to be there for her family members) was quick to respond with the care he needed.
Then, her father suffered a major stroke, and she began caring for him as well.
All of these caregiving challenges were before Alene graduated from high school.
After high school, Alene took a job at a senior community, putting her passion to work. She also became a nursing assistant during this time.
A nursing assistant's work is often difficult and sometimes thankless, and Alene has seen her share of challenging moments. But, since joining the Visiting Nurse Association of Greater St. Louis in 2011, she has met such moments with a smile. It’s always her goal to communicate to patients that they matter, and she is there to listen.
Alene says, “being a good caregiver is something you have to feel in your heart. You have to have a passion, especially in hospice".
Well, the hospice patients and their families that Alene has cared for through the Visiting Nurse Association of Greater St. Louis have all known her passion. And, her life experiences have enabled her to care whole-heartedly.
Alene Martin is a true and selfless caregiver, and we’re thankful she’s on our team.
Click to learn more about our hospice care team approach.