3 min read
19 May 2021

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

Jennifer Mayville, Marketing & Communications Manager

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.

[caption id="attachment_3764" align="aligncenter" width="1088"]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.[/caption]

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.

More Blogs

A drive to help others unites WoodGreen Personal Support Workers

Showing the personal stories of our Personal Support Workers as we recognize their incredible work for PSW Day in Ontario, May 19th.


Top 10 Exclusive Items in the WoodGreen Anniversary Auction (there’s still time to bid!)

There’s still time to join in WoodGreen’s 85th Anniversary Auction. From now until May 23, you can bid on everything from ROM passes to virtual cooking classes while helping WoodGreen raise funds for vital programs that support our community. We asked the Young Leaders Council for their top 10 favourite items in the auction. Here are their picks...


Volunteer of the Month: Meet two volunteers who are supporting fellow newcomers

Immigrants Deniz Toker and Sami Massouh are helping other newcomers to Canada by volunteering with WoodGreen. Read their stories.


Celebrate WoodGreen's 85th with the Anniversary Auction!

To mark our 85th Anniversary and celebrate the legacy of WoodGreen Community Services, we are pleased to announce The Anniversary Auction going live on April 28, 2022 at 12:00pm.


Updated COVID-19 Report Details Further Lessons and Impacts of Pandemic

This COVID-19 Report Part 2 searched for the true story of how WoodGreen tackled the subsequent waves of the virus. The data shows how lessons learned and community networks built during the first wave allowed for quick and effective dissemination of information, support, and vaccines.