Keeping seniors in their homes for as long as possible is not the work of any one, single community group. Even Community Care Network – with its 9,000 clients across Kawartha Lakes – can’t do it alone. That’s why Mike Puffer, communications officer for Community Care Health and Care Network, says he likes to stress the word ‘network’ when it comes to all that they do. It takes a whole community to meet the needs of seniors, he says, especially when the work is centred on ensuring as much independence for people as possible, or ‘aging in place.’
Personal Support Workers (PSWs) and caregivers are an intricate part of health care for any age, and indeed are overworked and underpaid for the responsibility we hold.
But the decision to serve others should not be taken lightly; it’s a commitment, not only to those you serve, but to those you serve with. If we are to assist 13 seniors out of bed each morning and our fellow PSW calls out sick, then our workload can quickly nearly double, affecting patient care in some settings.
It’s been called the form of abuse that few see. For something that is unseen to a great degree, elder abuse certainly affects a huge number of people in our community. Experts say that elder abuse could be found in the lives of up to 10 per cent of older adults in our community. That could be close to 1,000 Kawartha Lakes residents. If that isn’t alarming enough, the Ontario Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse says that only one in 12 cases gets reported. Unseen, yet definitely not insignificant.
After being notified that the last article about Personal Support Workers had over 190,000 views, I realize that writing from the heart must be something the public likes.
Feedback about being a PSW — one of the toughest jobs in health care — was agreed upon by most comments left by engaged readers. And some said that PSWs should never be working short, but that’s a question not for management, but for our new premier of Ontario.
I can still remember it like it was yesterday, I was 17 years old and knew that I wanted to help others as a vocation. I took the nursing program in Barrie and completed my first two semesters before realizing that in order to complete the program I would have to raise more funds. So I moved home to Lindsay to save up. Funny thing about being an 18 year old in college for many of us is that life skills — like budgeting — was not a strong point.
In the first edition of Aging in the Kawarthas we briefly discussed the aging population of Ontario and options for local seniors who wish to remain in the Kawarthas as they age in place.
Some seniors, or substitute decision makers, choose to leave their home and seek alternative living arrangements such as private retirement homes or long-term care facilities. However it’s no longer as easy as “Mom is going to have to go into a home” as we hear in the community very often. Keep Reading