My wife is personal support worker (PSW) in our community, daily putting herself at risk (and technically her family as well) to ensure her clients are taken care of. This service is more important than ever with so many of our senior population separated from their families.
At a time when a pandemic is sweeping across the globe and threatening the very existence of the elderly, PSWs are not only providing daily care but potentially saving lives by paying attention to the health conditions of their clients.
Each morning she – like many others in her field – get up before anyone else to begin their day. She then provides an underappreciated and truly essential service for several hours at locations throughout our town.
Her days consist of a variety of duties that would make most people cringe but are vitally important to the ladies and gentlemen she visits. PSWs mean the world to the people they’re charged with caring for – even only an hour a day – and their families as well.
Those seniors who are alone and don’t have family look forward to the company a PSW can provide. For them, it’s less about the actual care and more about the time spent with each other. They chat about the past, present and future while performing the duties they need to as part of a care plan.
For those whose families are involved, PSWs give spouses, children and even grandchildren a break from caring for their loved ones. This, often brief, break provides the main caregiver the refresher they need to keep on keeping on with their daily tasks.
It’s for these reasons that I often feel taken aback by the lack of appreciation for what they’re doing. PSWs are at as much risk – if not more at times – than the nurses, doctors and other healthcare workers in Muskoka are, but they don’t get any press.
Instead, even waste collection employees and other workers who don’t have to be close to anyone get shown all kinds of love and appreciation throughout the public sphere.
Don’t get me wrong, they deserve the appreciation for what they do. But, they’re not at as much risk as a PSW who is face to face in close quarters with dozens of people throughout the day.
They are doing an essential service and are on the frontlines of the healthcare industry – most of the time with our most vulnerable – but are all too frequently put in the backburner of society’s collective minds.
It’s time to give props to your community PSWs, they deserve it as much as everyone else who is out there performing their duties at a risk to themselves.
I’ll get the ball rolling: thank you!