I’ve always loved to help people. Watching my mother care for my grandparents strongly impacted my choice to go into personal support work. So as an adult looking back, I can see how stressful that time was for her, and I think about how having more support at home would have made things a little easier. I primarily work with seniors, and I go into each day thinking about the care I would want my grandparents to receive.
I know that transitioning to needing care can be an adjustment and not just for the client.
New caregivers can also need support during these transition times. I am proud to not only be able to support the patient but the caregiver as well. I feel that I bring an attitude of practical kindness that can allow my clients to accept the help I offer.
Taking care of someone’s personal needs is a privilege; when I work with someone in their home I give them the opportunity to stay safe and healthy in an environment that they are comfortable in. I have worked in home care as well as residence care, and I prefer home care because I think it encourages my clients to be as active and independent as possible.
Being a personal support worker means that I get to help with those daily tasks that many people take for granted. For example, when bathing or toileting a person I ask what I can help with, and explain what I am doing as I do it. Although the clients I work with need varying levels of support, I help them maintain their independence. I know they are capable of expressing their feelings and have personal preferences. Whenever possible, I support clients while they make decisions for themselves.
Being patient and able to clearly communicate are two skills that I have developed that help me in my work. It can be incredibly frustrating to feel like you’re not being heard. I often care for people who have hearing problems or communication issues resulting from strokes. As a result, I have found that taking a little extra time to allow for communication can make everything run smoother.
Above all, I like to take each day as it comes. I assist clients with daily self care activities, I prepare meals, and I am an advocate for my client to make sure they can live well and with dignity.
- Rhonda P. H. has been a personal support worker for 18 years