Editor’s Note: Community Care Durham (CCD) would like to thank and celebrate all our Personal Support Workers (PSWs) on Personal Support Worker Day 2021. PSWs do so much to support older persons to remain living safely in their own homes. They play an instrumental role in everything we do at CCD. Thank you.
CCD Personal Support Worker Marilyn Remani gets her strong work ethic naturally. Born and raised in a small Mennonite community just west of Kitchener, Ontario, she is no stranger to hard work, and it’s a trait she carries with her today.
Caregiving comes naturally to her. As the oldest daughter in a large family, she did most of the household chores for her mother from about the age of 11 onwards. Her mother worked long hours at a nursing home, so Marilyn was cleaning, cooking, and ironing while her mother was working.
“I’m old-fashioned that way,” she says. “I’ve been a caregiver most of my life.”
Marilyn has worked as a PSW for 20 years. Before coming to work for CCD, she volunteered with the organization for 11 years. She admits to being friendly and says she made a conscious decision early in life always to be a nice person. It’s part of her appeal.
“I’m a very sociable person,” she said. “People are just very comfortable talking to me.”
It’s these qualities that make Marilyn so popular with her clients. Given the current COVID-19 lockdowns, Marilyn is often the only person who is able to visit clients. She said it’s taking a heavy emotional toll on many people, herself included.
“It’s weighing them down not being able to see family and friends,” she says, adding, “I know what it’s like to be sick and tired of being stuck at home.”
But her visits, and the work that she does for her clients, make a great impression. As a PSW Marilyn helps people with activities of daily living including personal care, meal preparation and light housekeeping.
Marilyn says she’s not shy of hard work and will do whatever is needed to be done.
“I don’t say no to people very often. I work hard every day, and I know I make a difference in peoples’ lives, so I sleep well at night,” she said.
Given the need for more PSWs, Marilyn said it’s challenging to figure out why more people don’t take up the profession. She thinks one reason could be young people don’t love the idea of doing household tasks or may not know how to cook or clean for themselves, so how could they do it for others? Marilyn said she once met a young person who didn’t know how to boil an egg.
“It (cooking and cleaning) is almost a thing of the past, and it shouldn’t be,” she says.
Marilyn says COVID-19 has altered the way she does her job but that the extra safety precautions have helped her and her clients remain safe. She’s built a rapport with them, and they trust her.
“I believe very strongly in what we (CCD) do, what we stand for,” and her clients appreciate it, she explains.
After COVID-19 restrictions end, Marilyn says she looks forward to resuming a more sociable life. She has four grandchildren who live locally and two who live in the Kitchener area who she wants to visit. She’d also like to see some summertime jazz and blues festivals when it’s safe to do so. And a vacation – she would love to go away somewhere once again.
“I miss doing those things,” she says.