Roles and Responsibilities of Personal Support Workers 

By Brenda Enright

The Baby Boomer generation is reaching the age of retirement. The statement is significant because this generation consists of a massive pool of people. The rest of the population will certainly feel the void when the Boomers start leaving the workforce. Yet, this group is not one to slow down just because they no longer have to punch a time clock. Instead, they are living fuller lives and on their terms.

However, for many, growing older has a way of increasing dependency on others. Baby Boomers and their families are learning that this age brings aches, pains, and in some cases, debilitating illnesses. Adult sons and daughters, now called the Sandwich Generation, are challenged with figuring out how to help an elderly mother or father while still managing a career and caring for their growing families. One key factor in their success is enlisting a personal support worker who provides different levels of elder care. If you feel the strain and stress of helping your parent while trying to keep up with other areas of your life, you can benefit from some outside support.

How Personal Support Workers Help You and Your Senior

Your elderly loved one may want to live in their home for as long as possible. They feel they can live independently, but you may worry about them. A personal support worker (or PSW) comes alongside your mom or dad and offers assistance with daily routines, provides companionship, and aids those coming home from a hospital stay. Their services vary, but the goal is always to ensure families get the support they deserve.

1. PSWs Assisting Seniors with Daily Routines

If you stop and think about it, a person's daily routine consists of many things. It isn't just waking up and getting dressed. There is also bathing, cooking, and light housekeeping. As the caregiver of your elderly parent, you may not have the time required to handle all these routine tasks. Home care professionals can assist your loved one with the following:

  • Bathing: Entering and exiting a shower can become challenging as the body ages. Ensuring a good clean in a safe and efficient manner can also become difficult for those with mobility issues. A PSW offers help while protecting your elderly parent's dignity.
  • Cooking for seniors: Good nutrition is especially crucial for the elderly. Cooking for one is boring, and dental issues can make eating uncomfortable. Both cases leave Dad or Mom struggling to get the nutrients they need. Professional caregivers can ensure healthy meals on time, within your parent’s home.
  • Light housekeeping: If your aging parent still lives in their own home, it can be challenging for you to keep up with cleaning two houses. You can rely on a PSW to help your loved one with vacuuming, mopping, doing dishes, and laundry.

Take the burden of worrying about the daily care of your senior off your shoulders. Look for assistance through professional home care workers. They are well-trained to support seniors with their day-to-day living and give you peace of mind. They are also an ideal solution for companionship to keep your senior from being overcome with loneliness.

Learn why PSWs are invaluable in your senior’s daily routine

2. PSWs Providing Companionship for Seniors

One area that the elderly often struggle with is loneliness and depression. It is during this time of life that spouses and friends suffer from age-related or other illnesses and may even pass away. Mobility issues may prevent Mom from getting out of the house. The culmination of these realities can lead to mental health issues. Elder care professionals provide companionship to alleviate some of this through:

  • Having conversations. Sometimes, Dad needs a listening ear for his stories. Someone who will laugh at his youthful antics.
  • Playing games. Studies suggest keeping the brain engaged through different games may stave off dementia. While there isn't definitive proof of this yet, a home care worker can play games stimulating your loved one's mind while also giving them companionship.
  • Reading out loud. If Dad loves to read but cannot see well any longer, a PSW can read to him. He gets to continue his hobby, increasing his mental well-being.

Helping the elderly stay mentally fit is only part of the role and responsibility of a personal support worker. They also support families by providing respite care throughout the year, including holidays.

Read more on how elder care professionals offer enriching companionship to seniors.

3. Assisting You with Senior Homecare Over the Holidays

A caregiver's job is never done, and the stress can mount. The holidays can offer additional stress as well. If you do not get a break, you risk burnout and becoming ill. Then, you are no good to your spouse, children, or an aging loved one. That is where respite care comes in. Look for help in the form of a PSW to gain some time for yourself to:

  • Go out for lunch. You can catch up with an old friend and swap stories about your lives.
  • Get holiday shopping done. Spend a few hours getting all your shopping done so that you can enjoy the rest of the season.
  • Get a manicure or pedicure. Maybe you need a little pampering. Respite care can give you the time you deserve for some TLC at the nail salon.
  • Romantic getaway. It is time to reconnect with your spouse during this particular time of year.
  • Attend a party. December is often full of parties. Having a PSW to stay with Mom ensures you can have some fun too and not worry about her.

Having some dedicated time off from your caregiver duties provides you the opportunity to recharge your batteries. The help of a professional caregiver ensures you get the time you need without guilt and worry.

Learn how respite care can help you during the holiday season.

4. Providing Dementia and Alzheimer's Care

A couple of diseases that commonly plague the elderly are dementia and Alzheimer's. This is tricky because they develop in stages, leaving you wondering how long they can live independently. Support from a personal support worker increases the likelihood that Mom or Dad can remain in their home for a long time. The PSW helps with the following: 

  • Increasing levels of personal assistance care. For a while, Dad will be able to handle his personal care. At some point, he may need increased help to bathe, shave, and dress.
  • Cooking nutritious foods. Mom may get to the point that she should not be around a stove. She still needs to eat healthy meals, and a PSW can cook them for her.
  • Keeping family up-to-date on changes. A home care worker can share observations about your loved one's health and abilities. They can let you know if Mom had a 'bad' day and may need additional medical assistance.

While dementia and Alzheimer's are devastating, you don't have to give up your career to support your loved one. Choose home care that aids your senior during this trying time, so you can continue working and not worry if Mom left the stove on.

Here some Helpful suggestions to help your senior's mental well-being

Give the Best Support to Your Senior with Help from Quality Caregivers

You don't have to care for an aging loved one alone. Give them all the support they need when you seek out the services of a quality caregiver from Home Instead Mississauga. Our team provides you and your senior the support required for a higher quality of life. We tailor our services to fit your family member's needs, including medication reminders, housekeeping, companionship, memory care, and other customized home care services. Learn more when you contact us today.

Call us at (905) 276-2273 to schedule a no-obligation, in-home consultation. Learn more about the compassionate, quality senior care we deliver every day to families in All Mississauga including: Clarkson, Cooksville, Dixie, Erin Mills, Erindale, Lakeview, Lorne Park, Port Credit, Sheridan, Streetsville.

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