PSW Day: Meet 3 WoodGreen Personal Support Workers who are making a difference

Today, May 19, is Personal Support Worker (PSW) Day. However, PSWs deserve more than just a day — they deserve thanks and recognition all year long. 

our WoodGreen Personal Support Workers wearing masks and physically distanced from each other, standing outside a building surrounded by trees.

WoodGreen Personal Support Workers Lili Liang, Shirley Guan, Deserrei Matthews and Florence Cheung.

PSWs play a vital role in our communities and health care systems. They provide the essential services that allow seniors to age in place safely in their homes. The last year has left many seniors isolated from family and friends, making the support from a familiar face even more important. Our PSWs have been working hard from day one of the pandemic to protect our clients and ensure they are happy, healthy, and cared for.  

At WoodGreen, we have approximately 140 PSWs, who work in various locations, including our assisted living sites, our cluster sites (which are like congregate settings), and in the community. They support clients with all sorts of daily living activities, such as personal care, meal preparation, medication assistance and reminders, and some light homemaking duties and caregiver relief. 

Meet three of our dedicated Personal Support Workers 

Some of our PSWs have worked with us for decades, having an unwavering commitment to supporting their clients. Here are three of them and their stories. 

Joan ThomasImage of Joan Thomas, Personal Support Worker

Joan has been a PSW with WoodGreen for 27 years. What she enjoys most about her job is helping and supporting people, and being thanked for being there. 

One of her favourite memories from over the years was one client, who would get dressed and put her lipstick on and wait for Joan to arrive. “She looked forward to me coming, like a friend coming to visit,” she said.

Joan wants people to know that PSWs are there for their clients. She says to be successful as a PSW, you have to be understanding, compassionate, and treat people how you would like to be treated.

Shyamala Selliah

Image of Shyamala Selliah, Personal Support Worker

Shyamala has worked as a PSW for 30 years — 10 of those years at WoodGreen. 

She said that she likes her job because helping people comes naturally to her. When she was a child, she helped her mom who had asthma. And while living in Germany for a while, she did some volunteering with elderly people. So, when she immigrated to Canada, she decided to work with elderly people as a job.

“The end of the day, I am happy to help people. I work from my heart,” she said.  

Barbara George 

Image of Barbara George, Personal Support Worker

Barbara has worked at WoodGreen for 32 years. She credits her mom for her becoming a PSW. “This job is not new to me because I have been doing it since I was 13 years old. My mom would send me to assist seniors in the community who needed help,” said Barbara, who grew up in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. 

Barbara loves her job because she enjoys helping others. Her goal when interacting with her clients is to make them feel better about themselves. And she enjoys every minute of it. 

“Most of the clients that we work with appreciate what we do. They are very grateful and thankful for what we do,” she said. 

To all of our WoodGreen PSWs, thank you to each of you for being a #PSWStar! We hope that you all have a wonderful PSW Day.