PSWs Are ‘Angels In The Fog’

Meet Bianca. She has a 75-year old father who is suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease. A growing number of his memories are lost in a fog which he can’t remember or locate anymore. That’s why Bianca is happy to know he is being cared for by a highly qualified team of Personal Support Workers (PSW)s to look after his daily needs in a nursing home located in a small community north of Toronto.

“They are there because they care.”

“The PSWs who care for him are always so friendly,” said Bianca. “They take their time with him, even though their conversations aren’t that coherent. Every PSW I have come across is genuine. They are there because they care. They always say hello to him. They always let me know how he is doing.”

Her father seems to be happy with the care he is receiving from the PSWs at the nursing home. He has a good rapport with them and has grown very close to them. She can tell just by the way he speaks and interacts with them.

Her father always loved music and especially dancing. One day, when the stereo system was playing some Motown music, he began to dance. A staff member took some photos and mailed them to Bianca. She posted the pictures on her fridge to remind her that he is being cared for by qualified healthcare professionals. He can still find little snippets of happiness in a world that is very confusing for him.

When she visits him, she watches the PSWs walk by and say hello. Everyone is very patient and it’s their second nature to acknowledge every resident.

“PSWs do this job with heart,” she added. “Anyone can walk into a job and just show up for a pay cheque. But PSWs are different. They do it because they enjoy their job. They come to work with love, care and compassion for their residents. It’s my biggest blessing.”

If you have an interesting story to share about a PSW, share your story on www.seiuhealthcare.ca/rise.

G.A.D.

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This job isn’t for everyone – our Heroes of Homecare

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Ontarians depend on the support our Personal Support Workers (PSWs) provide every day. We want everyone to understand the skilled care, love and compassion they provide.

This job isn’t for everyone; it takes a special kind of person to do their job. They are our Heroes of Homecare. Our healthcare system couldn’t operate without them. That’s why we’re asking those who receive care from a PSW and your families to tell us how your PSW helps you retain your independence in your own home and why this is important to you.

It’s easy – just visit our website and tell us your homecare story in your own words. #RiseForHomecare

Heroes of Homecare

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I became a PSW to help seniors stay in their home as long as they could. To give dignity and kindness and love. So many seniors fall through the cracks because they have no one to help, or family, or they are too proud to ask. I try to make their day good and happy, and make them feel good about themselves.

Giselle Ralph, PSW

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I love helping people who can’t help themselves. To be able to earn the trust of your clients even when everything around them seems to be disappearing such as their spouse, health or independence is a great gift.

Darla Fiset, PSW

Calling all families of homecare

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When I was 11 years old, there was a fire at my house and my little sister, who was 10 at the time was badly burned. 80% of her body was covered with scar tissue and it took a lot of sensitive skin grafting to heal her. Afterwards, I took care of her. I helped with her physio, changed her dressings, prepared her medications because she couldn’t do it for herself and help her dress. As a burn victim she had to wear special clothing all over her entire body.

That’s why I became a PSW. Through caring for my sister, I found I wanted to help others. Someone has to do it. This happened in the mid-1980s and there weren’t homecare services like we have today. As a front line PSW I can give people the assistance they need to keep their lifestyles as they were before the ailment hit them. Andy Elliot, Personal Support Worker

The truth is, many of us probably don’t even realize that homecare impacts us. But think about your neighbours, parents, grandparents and friends. How do they survive day to day? Chances are they are a homecare recipient. In other words, someone comes to their home on a regular basis to support their living, whether it’s a bath, cleaning up after them, feeding them, doing their laundry, and so on (though we know that homecare workers do so much more than that).

When was the last time you checked in to see what type of care your loved ones have received? Often times we don’t, because we are confident that our families are receiving some of the best care under the wing of frontline homecare workers such as Andy.

Andy’s story above is one of the many reasons why it’s important we, as a collective whole, rise for homecare. People who are or will be impacted by homecare are all around you: the person sitting next to you on the bus, driving alongside you on the highway, standing in front of you in the lunch line- all of these folks either know someone who has received homecare or will one day need these services themselves. But PSWs aren’t the only ones with stories- families of homecare have some of the most touching accounts. That’s why we are calling on families of homecare to come forward and join the movement. Tell us how your life has been impacted by homecare; it’s time we hear from you.

 

We are all rising for homecare

Across the world, the demand for homecare is growing. Our healthcare system needs to provide the best possible care for patients, clients and residents in the comfort of their own home. That’s why SEIU Healthcare is running a public awareness campaign called Rise for Homecare. There are a lot of people who have been telling us they feel the same way.

Take Robin Plein, a PSW from Timmins, for instance.

“So what does a senior need to stay at home? A reasonably comfortable safe place, good simple food – not frozen dinners. They also need to socialize, with us and others. They need to get out, walk, and if possible, feel useful. They all have different needs,” she says.

Homecare PSWs are dedicated to their job and their clients. Just listen to what PSW Debbie Kruk has to say.

“We PSW’s make sacrifices to work this job. Why do we do it? We love the people we look after and our jobs. People are struggling out there on their own. We care for blind, elderly people in their nineties, living in their home.”

“As far as I can see the need for homecare has risen,” Debbie added.

Many people value the work PSWs do for their families. Just ask Judith Medwid, a parent who lost her daughter to a neurological disease last year. Her daughter was only 43 years old.

“I have the utmost praise for every PSW who took care of my daughter in her last year of life. They were very caring, cheerful and above all, professional, right to the last day of her life. Help was only a phone call away. Thanks with all our hearts. ❤”

Homecare workers like Shereta Bowers is the type of homecare worker people relyon.

“As a home care worker going in the retirement home in the morning to care for my clients, it is a joyful experience for me,” Shereta says.

Cynthia Colby is a family member who also understands the important work PSWs do for their clients.

“I am a family member who fully supports your initiatives toward improving homecare access, wage increases for PSWs. My Mother has Alzheimer’s. She lives at home with her husband. She would be living in a nursing home if we didn’t have a caregiver providing her with some relief. Thanks for all you do!”

What do you think of our homecare system? You can also join the conversation at our Rise for Homecare campaign page. Let us know. Rise with us. Together, we can help create a stronger, better homecare system.

The Golden Age?

June is Senior’s Month, a time to consider the health and welfare of an important and growing percentage of the Canadian population, as well as preparing for the future generation of seniors following quickly behind. Currently, there are over 7.7 million Canadians over the age of 60. The image below shows how that demographic is set to explode in the coming decades.

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The Global AgeWatch Index by HelpAge.org is the first ever index to measure countries by how well their older populations are faring. According to the index, Canada ranks fourth in the world (overall and for health), just behind Norway, Sweden and Switzerland. The US ranks eighth. This index shows that currently, the average 60-year-old Canadian can expect to live an additional 25 years beyond this number, however only 18.3 of those years will be spent in good health. That leaves a shortfall of 6.7 years when each person’s need for healthcare will be greatly increased. We are already realizing a tremendous strain on the healthcare system in 2015 as hospitals face staffing freezes and a growing need for more money to provide workers and services. Combine this with the figures of an expanding elderly population and it is evident that something must be done very quickly.

Canada ranks 4th in the world, but for how long?

Years in good health The Telegraph reported in 2012 that “increasing longevity is one of humanity’s greatest achievements. People live longer because of improved nutrition, sanitation, medical advancements, healthcare, education and economic well-being.” In Britain, one third of all children born in 2012 are expected to celebrate their 100th birthday. Does this mean we raise the age of seniors (Canada already recently increased the retirement age from 65 to 67) or can we fund seniors who may spend 30, 40, or even 50 years in retirement?

Maybe I’m just being pessimistic. They call the senior years the “golden years,” but I’m just worried that the money might run out and they will be more like “tin-foil years” for me.

We must look forward to the future of healthcare and the time is now to take action. That is why SEIU Healthcare has launched the Rise for Homecare campaign. We’re looking for you to share your stories with us as a PSW, a client receiving homecare, or family member of someone receiving homecare. You can also take action by signing and sending a letter to your MPP to ask for his/her support on this important issue. Visit http://www.seiuhealthcare.ca/rise and you’re just a click away from making your voice heard.

Sources:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/japan/9579950/World-faces-ageing-population-time-bomb-says-UN.html

http://www.helpagecanada.ca/en/

http://www.helpage.org/global-agewatch/

We Need A Stronger Homecare System

The demand on healthcare services is growing. According to the recent report published by the Conference Board of Canada in April 2015 called Understanding Health and Social Services for Seniors in Canada, it explains how the growing number of seniors are driving up demand for healthcare services.

The number of seniors who need healthcare is much higher than their younger counterparts. The amount of money spent on someone’s health needs in their 80s is much higher than someone in their 20s, 30s or 40s. And the number of seniors is growing.

In 1971, 8 percent of Canadians were 65 and older. In 2011 that number increased to 15 percent. By 2036 that number is projected to increase to a whopping 25 percent. Not only does that mean the number of Canadians who require large amounts of health spending is going to increase, the number people who are of working age (ages 15 to 64) is dropping. That means we have a smaller tax base to raise the money we need to properly care for our growing senior’s health needs. Right now there are 5 working Canadians for every senior. By 2030 that number will drop by nearly half to 2.7.

That’s why we need a stronger homecare system to look after the needs of our aging population. SEIU Healthcare has recently launched a campaign called Rise for Homecare. As demand for homecare grows, we need to build a homecare system that looks after our seniors properly.

Rise with us. Rise for Homecare!

G.A.D