Caregiver Corner

Staff Focus

Personal support workers (PSWs) play a crucial role in helping vulnerable people live their best possible lives with safety, dignity, compassion & respect. They usually work with seniors & vulnerable people who need extra support with daily living tasks (also known as ADL’s – activities of daily living).

Personal support workers help clients maintain their dignity, stay safe, and remain as independent as possible.

Care is given following the principles of D.I.P.P.S. (Dignity, Independence, Preferences, Privacy, Safety), ensuring the health and well-being of the patient as a whole.

The care is provided in the person’s home which can include any of the following settings:

  • Their own private home
  • Supportive housing
  • Assisted Living
  • Group Homes
  • Retirement homes
  • Long term care facilities (LTC)
  • Hospitals
  • Adult day programs
  • Hospice

Personal support workers help with tasks that people can no longer do on their own because of age, illness, injury, or disability.

Some PSWs choose to specialize in caring for clients with specific health care conditions and needs.

Their goal is to help clients live safely and comfortably.

The specific job duties will be a bit different depending on where you work and what your clients need.

PSWs who work in a long-term care facility likely won’t drive a client anywhere or carry out many housekeeping tasks.

Some of these tasks may include:

  • Ambulation, lifting and transferring those who have difficulty moving around on their own
  • Assist person(s) with activities of daily living (ADLs) such as bathing, dressing, grooming, skin care, oral hygiene, toileting
  • Reminding clients to take their medications at the appropriate times (in accordance with established employer or government policy)
  • Light Housekeeping ie: sweeping/vacuuming floors, tidying rooms, and washing dishes
  • Changing sheets and doing laundry
  • Planning and preparing meals according to specific dietary requirements
  • Shopping for groceries and picking up prescriptions
  • Chatting and spending time with clients (providing companionship and emotional support)
  • Escorting clients to appointments and social outings
  • Helping clients carry out prescribed exercises
  • Observing and reporting changes in clients’ behavior, attitude, or overall health to a supervisor

Stories from CGS

“I have worked as a caregiver for 40 years. The most rewarding thing I have received is to be humble. I don’t think I can successfully articulate one story. I have been rewarded in many ways. Through heartache, trauma,  joy, the art of communication,  unconditional love, the stories, and the sadness. I have dedicated most of my life helping and healing all walks of life. Regardless of how much or how little money you have, treat all with respect. When you have someone who is maybe difficult I think maybe when I’m in this situation I may be very difficult to care for and treat others as you wish to be treated. Life is a cycle, parents or loved ones caring for us then roles are reversed.  This may not be what you are looking for but every human has “Their own story”. We as caregivers respect all of them.”

Shawn W. Saint John, NB

“2020- I’m a live music venue owner. I was known as ‘The Mother of live music’. Always caring for my traveling musicians. Covid strikes. Music/venues shut down. What do I do?  I was told by many that I love taking care of others. I do. I did a simple Google search. An agency pops up first. I read about it and my heart said follow me. I spoke to the Manager and started my new career- I’ve not looked back. I have made the most special connections and I feel so much love from my clients. I was asked to speak at my ‘gentle giant’s’ funeral as that is how much I meant to their family. There’s love. There’s heartbreak. But getting to love and care for these incredible humans making their day have laughter and sunshine leaves my heart full. I lost my mother and father when I was 12. Everyone I have the privilege to be with allows me to feel like I have the chance to care for ‘my parents’. I love every day.

Tracy P , Moncton, NB

“I have my Grandparents to thank for leading me down this path in becoming a PSW.

My Grandparents raised me and so from a young age. Once my grandparents started to age I began helping them out a lot more and really enjoyed it!  I went on to College for an entirely different field.  After years of being unhappy and my Grandparents needing more help, the light bulb came on!  I thought to myself why am I not doing this as my career?  I jumped feet first and haven’t looked back.

As a PSW, I enjoy making a difference in my clients lives. From companionship to helping clients bathe, to eating a nutritious meal and making sure they get the proper medications, to being the all- important person they confide in and trust. The work of a PSW is rewarding knowing that I do truly make a difference in my clients and their families lives. It’s proven that helping others helps us feel our best too and it’s an important part of my daily routine.  I love to see their smiles and hear all about their life stories.  I’m there for the good days and the bad! I have met people from all walks of life and like to think each and every client I have had the pleasure of working with has taught me something valuable. Treat people how you want to be treated and remember we ourselves may one day be in their shoes seeking care and the opportunity to live out our days at home.  Laughter is the best medicine!  Make time for what’s important, especially family! ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE “

Amanda M., Minto, NB

“When I was 11 I helped take care of my fathers mother, my nanny. She had Alzheimer’s disease. It was very rapid, she quickly forgot who I was but I kept helping. I loved her so very much, she was an amazing lady. I helped dress her, feed her and help with some other things.

She passed away when I was 13.

Then after that I helped take care of my mothers father, my Grampy. He had Parkinson’s disease. I helped take care of him, helped with his oxygen that had medication in the mask. I helped with his feet, other things. He forgot who I was also after a while, but I kept helping. He passed away when I was young as well. As a child I grew up fast and learned a lot about those two diseases. After my grandparents had both passed I wanted to help others. At 16, I got a cleaning job at a nearby Special care home. I cleaned but couldn’t help which broke my heart. I stayed and cleaned so I could still make them laugh and see their smiles.

I didn’t get back into caring for the elderly right after school, it was a few years later I decided to get back into doing what I love.

I’ve always said that if it wasn’t for the elderly we wouldn’t have what we have now. I want to do my part and give back as much as I can. Caring for the elderly is me, it’s what I was meant to do. It’s what I love.

I’ve been taking care of people for a very long time, almost 10 years with a company.

I will keep doing it as long as I can, I truly love what I do. They deserve care, compassion, someone to listen to them, someone to be there for them.”

Heather F Belleisle Creek, NB

”I became a ‘personal support worker” because I love the elderly, they’re very knowledgeable.

Growing up, I was friends with a girl that lived with her grandparents, they were the sweetest couple, they would kiss each other like teenagers…

The four of us would sit at the kitchen- table and play games.We would take them for long drives to visit with their friends.

What I most enjoy about being a P.S.W. would be going far and beyond, to help people out, even little things, like if I take in a homemade cupcake to them, they’re sooo appreciative.

And if I’m feeling down, helping them lifts up my spirits.

This career has been very rewarding to me, because I’ve learned a lot over the last 30 years, and my basic nursing skills really helped me out, when we found out my husband had Cancer 3 years ago.”

Vickie G., Perth-Andover, NB

“Being able to meet new people, getting to know someone, listening to them tell me about their life stories. These things are just part of the reason why my job is so amazing.

My Mother and Grandmother are my inspirations for why I wanted to become a PSW. My grandmother was diagnosed with Cancer when I was young. She was the most wonderful, loving, caring, and important person in my life. When she started to get weaker, I was always helping her in any way I could. Bringing her water, snacks, holding her hand, walking around or helping her up and down the stairs, watering her plants, getting anything she needed or just keeping her company. I would go to her house every chance I got to help take care of her. When she passed away, I was heartbroken. My best friend was gone. I knew from that point on, I wanted to help people, I wanted to try to make their day just a little bit brighter anyway I could.

My mother is another huge inspiration of mine. She was a Support worker as well. I always aspired to be just like her. She has the most beautiful kind hearted soul. I watched my mother help people for years. She would do anything to put a smile on a person’s face. Even to this day, she still helps everyone with whatever they need, including me. I definitely wouldn’t be who I am if it wasn’t for her.

I enjoy being a personal support worker. This career has been so rewarding. I’ve met so many new people, not just clients but their families as well. When a client’s family member tells me how much they appreciate me, what a wonderful job I’m doing, or how much the client enjoys having me, it makes me feel so incredibly grateful and reassures me that I’ve chosen the perfect job.”

Abby M., Woodstock, NB

“I chose to become a personal support worker because I find it fulfilling to be able to provide assistance and care to those who may be unable to care for themselves due to age, illness, or disability. I feel a sense of satisfaction knowing that I can positively impact their lives and help them maintain their independence and dignity. The desire to help others who are in need of support is what motivates me to pursue this career path.

What I enjoy about being a personal support worker is the flexibility it provides in terms of scheduling. I am able to arrange my work schedule in a way that allows me to balance my work life with my personal life. So far, being a PSW has been rewarding because I get the opportunity to provide compassionate care and support to individuals who need it the most, such as the elderly, people with disabilities, or those recovering from an illness or injury.

Being a PSW has taught me valuable skills such as communication, empathy, problem-solving, and time management.

One of my clients helped me learn an important lesson about life: not everyone will like you, and that’s okay; it’s not always about you, but just a reality of human relationships.”

Adlyn O. Moncton NB

“After originally studying Human Services at NBCC in 2014 and wanting to work with children/youth, I applied to work at an agency that employed both PSWs and Family Services staff. I was offered a position as a home care worker and even though it wasn’t what I had planned, I accepted the position and it was probably the best decision I made. I began my work as a HCW in 2015. Soon after we were required to be PSW certified. The agency I worked for at the time offered a “earn and learn” program where I was able to work & train at the same time. By 2016 I was a certified PSW working full time. I loved seeing my regular clients almost everyday and seeing the smile on their face when doing something so simple such as serving them a home cooked meal. I love the connections I have made with clients and their families. It is so rewarding to see them happy as I sit and listen to their stories (even if I had maybe heard them 3 or 4 times already). I truly felt valued and appreciated in their lives. It was so rewarding to be that person that someone relied on to assist them with everyday tasks. Some were simply not ready for a nursing home and it felt rewarding to be a puzzle piece in what helped keep them comfortable in their own home. I have learned so much about history, crafting, and recipes from past clients. Probably one of my favorites to date is crocheting!

After getting pregnant and having my daughter, I have only been able to work part time and have one consistent client. I love chatting and getting to know her more and more. As I get older, loved ones around me begin to require more care or life events happen and they require care of their own. Seeing firsthand how much a PSW can make a difference has truly helped me realize how big of an impact us PSWs can make a difference in someone’s life. I have gained a new appreciation for not only other fellow PSWs, but health care workers in general. The skills I have learned as PSW is something I will forever be grateful for. The amazing people I have met along the way are just a huge bonus!”

Courtney C., Saint John, NB

Benefits of Being a Caregiver

You have a chance to help your community
People often wish they could “make a difference.” As a PSW, you really can. From helping clients bathe, eat and take the proper amounts of medication. To “being the all-important person they confide in and trust, you’ll play a major role in restoring your clients happiness, health and dignity.

It’s rewarding, and makes you feel good
Ever noticed how good it feels to help friends and family, or even a stranger? It’s proven that helping others helps us feel our best too and it is an important part of a PSW’s daily routine.

There is a growing demand in the field
Baby boomers are aging, our hospitals are full and the home care sector is one that can’t keep up with the demand. Not only this, but almost half of all PSWs are 50 to 59-years-old, and will be retiring soon. There couldn’t be a better time to step into the field!

You can be proud of your career
PSWs enter a profession they can be proud of. They work alongside medical professionals in a range of health care settings, like long-term care homes, hospitals and individuals’ homes, restoring well-being and dignity to the sick.