A newly discovered passion sends 63-year-old back to the classroom

anne_captionGoing back to school in your sixties after retiring from not one, but two careers isn’t the norm. But Anne Worts, 63, felt a strong calling to help people who are in need of palliative care. To do that properly, she decided to get her Personal Support Worker (PSW) certificate.

Offered through the Simcoe County District School Board (SCDSB) Learning Centres, the PSW course is a comprehensive, fully accredited program with high graduate employment rates.

Anne retired from her insurance sales job in 2005, and she found herself quite busy in retirement.

“I had a lot going on in my life, but I wanted to get involved in something more,” she says.

In January, Anne decided to volunteer at the Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH) in palliative care. She visits with people who have life-limiting or life-ending illnesses.

“I have a real love for the elderly, and I’m not afraid to be around people who are dying,” Anne says of her volunteer work. “I’m also not afraid to talk about death—people often open up to a stranger when they won’t with a family member, and I’m able to provide an outlet for them. I cherish my role.”

Anne started to feel that providing palliative care was more than an interest. It was her calling. But to do it properly, she wanted to be equipped with the right knowledge. During her RVH training, Anne chatted with her fellow trainees and realized many of them were PSWs. She knew that was the avenue she should take to pursue her new career.

Anne started the PSW course at the Barrie Learning Centre this September, and she’s been working hard ever since.

“I really love the course, but it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Being in my 60s, learning is different. And this course moves at a very fast pace—but I love the content, I love what I’m learning. And I’m really enjoying the comradery in the class. We’re a very diverse group of people—ranging from 22 to, well, 63—but we all get along quite well. It helps that we have a dynamic teacher. It’s fun to be in a school environment that is like that.”

And to add some extra excitement to her return to school, Anne joined a sorority. Feeling a special bond with her three granddaughters who are all in post-secondary education, she spearheaded the CUFFS Sorority – College and University Family Female Society.

“It’s a lot of fun being able to talk about school with my granddaughters,” she says with a smile. “We share our stories, talk about exams and offer support to each other through email during the school year. It’s a wonderful bond, and such a fun time in all our lives for us to share.”

Anne’s grandchildren—eight in total—are her other main passion. She is an active part of their lives, and she feels that family bonds are the strongest and most important.

“I am really blessed in my life. I have a wonderful family, and I love my PSW course. I wake up in the morning and can’t wait to start my day.”

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