Schools Training

Elder Care Trends You Might Not See in Your Personal Support Worker Course

20 FEB 2012
Career Path : Personal Support Worker

You love the idea of making the golden years shine brighter for the elderly residents of nursing homes. You can’t wait to start your personal support worker (PSW) courses, so that you can learn everything there is to know about assisting elderly residents in the tasks of daily living. But are you aware of all the trends in elder care that may impact your working life after you finish your personal support worker course? Here are five trends to watch for.


1. Ethnic-focused Old Age Homes

The Globe and Mail newspaper recently reported on the Yee Hong Centre for Geriatric Care in Ontario. This “caring community” is so popular that there is a five-year wait to get in to one of its homes. Its secret? It is one of the few old age homes in the Greater Toronto Area that caters specifically to Chinese Canadians. A recent job posting states that the Centre is seeking a “graduate of an approved Personal Support Worker course” with a “knowledge of Chinese.” Most of the job postings ask for a similar combination of PSW courses and a knowledge of Chinese.

Graduates of PSW courses who work at the Yee Hong homes may find themselves accompanying residents to such culturally oriented activities as Chinese painting, Chinese opera and tai chi.


2. Chair Yoga

Upon graduation from your PSW courses, you may also be asked to accompany senior citizens to chair yoga classes. Many assisted living facilities offer this gentle form of yoga, which is practiced while seated in a chair. It is a way for seniors with limited mobility to experiment with yogic breathing and relaxation in a safe, supported setting.


3. Local Food in Institutional Food Services

According to Foodservice and Hospitality, a Canadian hospitality business magazine, a company called the 100 Mile Market in Kitchener, Ontario helps large institutional food services in hospitals and other healthcare facilities access locally grown food. Perhaps in the future, graduates of PSW courses will choose their employer based on the provenance of its veggies!


4. Pet Therapy

St. John Ambulance’s Therapy Dog Services brings volunteer pets and their owners into nursing homes, where residents are not allowed to keep their own pets. The animals – usually dogs – are pre-screened and certified. It is meant to encourage bonds, promote healing and activate pleasant memories: all goals that are in line with what you will learn in your PSW courses.


5. Kindergarten Classes in Nursing Homes

As you will learn in your PSW courses, one of the biggest challenges for residents of old age homes is isolation. To combat this, some nursing homes have opened their day rooms to local kindergarten classes. In these programs, children typically spend one to two days a week at the nursing home, where the residents help them learn their letters, etc.

You may not learn about these trends in your personal support worker course, but many graduates of PSW courses will encounter them after graduation.