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From a PSW’s Perspective: Celebrating PSW Day 2021

This year, to celebrate PSW Day, we asked our Personal Support Workers (PSWs) to share their stories about meaningful experiences they’ve had with clients. Their responses reflect the deep connection and positive difference they make in the lives of our clients each day. Thank you to our PSWs for all the hard work and dedication you commit to each day.

“One day, when I arrived at my client’s home for his daily visit, I noticed that he was still in bed sleeping. I tried to wake him up but he didn’t respond and didn’t open his eyes. His granddaughter came and I asked her if she could wake him up, but he still wasn’t responding. I told her to call 911. The paramedics arrived and started doing some tests on him. In that moment, we were all worried. As the paramedics were attending to him, my client woke and opened his eyes. He started talking to his granddaughter, who was crying. In Spanish, he told me “Me Salavaste la vida!” which means ‘You saved my life’. In that moment, he cried too. It was a touching moment for me. I held my own tears back, wanting to show my client that I’m strong and he can rely on me. This experience is one of the reasons why I love my job. I love being a PSW because I care for others and sometimes even save lives.”

– Joseph, PSW

“There’s one client in particular that I think about. From day one, she told me how glad she was that I was sent to her and constantly praised me on how I did things the way she wanted them done. Eventually, her health started to deteriorate. She was given more hours of care, so I was with her almost every day. She would repeatedly say to me how she felt so peaceful in my presence and that she didn’t need to take her pain pills as long as I was with her. Perhaps a bit of an over-reaction, but nonetheless, I took her words to heart. Those words helped me to care for her in her difficult times. Then the family made arrangements to have my client moved to a nursing home. I was with them the day that she moved. It was only three or four days later that I received a phone call from her daughter to let me know her mother had passed away in her sleep, just exactly how she wanted to leave this world. I attended her Shiva, along with some of her other regular PSWs. I am so blessed to have cared for her and will forever treasure the memories of our time together.”

– Lita, PSW

“Every time I visited one of my clients, she would give me a nice smile and tell me she’s very happy that it’s Monday. When I would ask her why, she’d say ‘Because I get to see you today!’ She’d say, ‘Everytime you’re here with me, my heart is full of happiness.’ Whenever I was done caring for her, she’d ask when she would see me again and tell me she loved me. It made me feel like she was my mother. It was a sad day when I had to say goodbye to her because she was being transferred to long-term care. She gave me a thank you card, and it made me want to cry. But I smiled at her and told her I was going to miss her. One day, by God’s grace, I hope I get to see her again.”

– Marilyn, PSW

“One of my clients speaks multiple languages, but English is not one of them. In many ways, this is my greatest problem, because communicating is so important when you’re helping someone else.  At first, I really found it hard to provide care for her. I wanted to use my mobile app to translate back and forth between us, but it didn’t work because she combines multiple languages when she speaks. In this case, I asked her family to interpret some of the common words used daily and I wrote down a list. I also started using gestures and body language to express my thoughts. In the beginning, she used to get anxious and agitated, and wanted to get up from her bed. I had to distract her attention or offer her something to eat or drink, or call her daughter to speak to her.  It took time, but after a while, I won her confidence. Now, she’s so happy whenever I visit her. She feels great when I shampoo her hair and give her a bed bath. We enjoy each other’s company and my presence and assistance makes her happy and satisfied. I was especially honoured to hear that she prays for me and my family to be safe and healthy. (Her daughter translated that for me!)”

– Rosalina, PSW

“I’ve been working with Circle of Care for almost 8 years, and have developed wonderful working relationships with my clients. I’ve worked with one of my clients the whole time I’ve been with Circle of Care! Last year, I was unfortunately in a car accident, and had to take 5 weeks off work. All my clients were worried and wondered where I was, and kept waiting for me to return to them. When I finally was able to return to work, they were so excited to see me! It was so heartwarming to hear their words of kindness and praise for my work.”

– Josefina, PSW

“One of my clients is a sweet older lady. We became close when we discovered that she had a great-granddaughter that is the same age as my granddaughter, and we used to show each other pictures. I would go in to pull back the covers on her bed, and give her a back rub with her favourite cream. With everything that happened with the pandemic, our schedules got shuffled by Public Health, and she had to get a different PSW. The transition was hard on her, and she struggled with the change. I missed her too. Happily, now I’m back with my old schedule and can see her again. She’s so happy! When I returned to her on the first day, I got the biggest hug ever. She said that she kept comparing the other worker to me. It’s great to be back with her, we talk about everything like we’ve known each other for years. And the unique thing is, we share the same birthday! She’s just wonderful and special, and I’m happy to provide her with care.”

– Eleen, PSW

“At the beginning of my visit, I greet my clients with a hello, and their response right away is ‘My sunshine is here!’ My clients always greet me with a big happy smile and welcome me like family. That’s why I’m so attached to them. One of my clients told me, ‘I’m so blessed to have you come three times a week. I feel so alive when you’re here, and it brings me happiness.’ Another client told me ‘Luisa, you improve my life, the way you care for me, you treat me like you family.’”

– Luisa, PSW

“My clients are very nice to me and they appreciate my work for them. They are very happy every time I visit them, and they wait for me every day. I get the best feeling when they say thank you and appreciate all the things I’ve done for them. They treat me like a family member! You have to have lots of patience and understanding to be a PSW. Having love for your job and loving care for your clients helps as well. When my clients say thank you and see you tomorrow, it completes my day and I finish with a big smile.”

– Ethel, PSW

“My client is a retired doctor. Every time I visit him, he tells me that when he sees me he doesn’t feel sick. I answer him, ‘Well, it’s a good thing, I’m not sick either!’ He always laughs every time I tell him that. Truly, laughter is the best medicine. Whenever we can laugh together, it will be a good day!”

Saniata, PSW

“One day, my client’s daughter approached me and told me a very heartwarming story. She saw her mother staring at the window Monday night and asked her mother how she was doing. The mother said she couldn’t wait for Tuesday to come: “Tuesday is my favorite day of the week because I get to see my Kristina, my little daughter.” I have received a lot of appreciation and compliments at work but this one made me a little teary. To learn that someone is so looking forward to seeing you and be with you is priceless! I feel very grateful that God is constantly reminding me to spread kindness and giving me the opportunity to witness it as well.”

– Kristina, PSW