No one is independent. In fact, we are all interdependent. We rely on natural and paid supports to help us with day-to-day tasks—including banking, house cleaning, yard maintenance, laundry, car maintenance, grocery shopping, cooking, etc.
For many people with disabilities, the use of personal assistance services (also known as a personal care attendant) helps to maintain their independence.
Since our daughter’s acceptance into Texas Home Living (TxHmL), there have been many decisions to make.
First, we were asked if we wanted an agency to manage the program. (The other option was to manage it ourselves.) We talked with management agencies. We also talked with other parents, friends, and families. We looked on the Internet.
Our final decision was to go with the Consumer Directed Service option. This meant that we had the responsibility to make choices on our own for the particular services that were needed. Along with that freedom came many options. All were important to making our personal plan successful. We do have the help of an agency. They help us with management of paperwork, payments, and other “red tape” required by the state.
From the start, it was clear that our needs for a care provider were simple: not many hours, no medical issues, no specialized therapies, and no work assistance. Sounds easy enough to find an attendant, right? Just ask a few friends. Post your interests in an email or on Facebook. Put notes up at the library or church bulletin boards.
While many have found this successful, we did not. We had few results. But none met our needs.
We had to broaden our search. Might we have to go into cyberspace to find a good candidate? Several friends and acquaintances have found their significant-others on Match.com. And they are happily married. So do we dare look into a similar site to find an attendant for our family member? Why not?!
We explored Care.com and took the plunge.
It was extremely easy. We found many possible options—more than we needed. We shrunk the list to 10 and contacted them all. The search was superb. Many people replied. One stood out more than the others. So we set up an interview. During the interview, my daughter’s stated goals were simple:
It was a perfect match. She was hired and is now a member of our family—officially as an “attendant.” More importantly, she is a friend.
The takeaway from our family’s journey:
The rewards will be many. Here is a parent article on finding caregivers. Other articles and information can be found using the search term "caregivers."
I was surprised how parenting a kid with intensive needs affected my relationship with my older children and my extended family.
Categories: Family Support