Caregiving by Chance, a Caregiver by Choice
10 years ago I would have never imaged being in the position I am now and pursuing the career of my dreams. When I was born, my nana and papa took a huge parenting role in my life. I never had a babysitter and I never went a day without seeing them. 22 years later they are the centre of my world. I had no idea that caring for seniors took a “type of person” and having the ability to connect, communicate and relate to individuals 50 years older than me was not a common trait.
Growing up I had the idea I was going to be a psychologist until I landed a job as a PSW (personal support worker). Having no idea what to expect, I went to my first client 5 years ago today. The moment I walked in the door I knew I was put on this earth to help individuals that have put years into helping others. Due to being a government PSW, I only had an hour at each house and I never left without wanting more hours to spend having conversations with the individuals I visited. I had no problems cleaning up after individuals and found joy in doing it. Whether it was someone I was informed could be "grumpy" or someone who only communicated through an iPad, I found a way to walk into their life for that hour and always put a smile on their face.
I soon became an individual that understood having a caregiver can be one of the most vulnerable times in someone's life and respecting someone's requests is essential when wanting to make an undeniable difference. I never said no and I never left a shift without making sure the person felt valued, respected and listened too. I set a goal for myself that every time I went to see a client, I would treat them as if they were my own nana and papa and would do anything in the world for them.
I soon decided to climb the ladder of care and go into a Client Care Manager role which consisted of doing the background work that allowed individuals to receive care. With every caregiver I hired and sent to a client I was upset that I was not the one caring for the individual. During this time I increased my Alzheimers knowledge and advanced my tool kit, itching to get back into the field.
Six months later with my best friend, who like me has had a deep passion for caring for seniors, opened our own senior care company. Senior Support Services Of Southern Ontario is a small but mighty company. It is us who provide the care and bring the passion to the front line work. We will not be the "PSW" that comes in for a couple hours, but we will be the person that is an advocate, supporter, care partner and someone who will always bring compassion, empathy, and positive energy.