Nobody likes needing someone to help them with personal things, but when you have a spinal cord injury, this is a reality for many. From showering to needing help going to the bathroom, all of this takes some adjusting.
Many people with spinal cord injuries hire caregivers to assist in their daily living activities. Caregivers can assist people with SCIs with getting in and out of bed, stretching their legs and arms, dressing, managing their bowel and bladder routines, and helping with homemaking activities such as laundry and cleaning.
Finding the right caregiver, however, can be tricky. The search can be long, and you may end up with several people that don’t work out before you find someone you are comfortable with. But, like anything, you need to keep trying. Some people will let their rehab specialists or a caregiving agency do the searching for them, while others search for caregivers themselves.
If you would like to find the right caregiver yourself, you may want to start your search online by placing a job posting on a website such as Craigslist (Note: Craigslist charges $25 to post a job ad, and seems to be increasing this amount every few years). Sites like Care.com are also good websites for you to look for caregivers. These sites are not as popular, but you may find better quality and more experienced caregivers on this type of site. You should also ask around to people you know — a family member or friend may know someone who would be perfect as your next caregiver. Let everybody know you’re looking for a new caregiver, and someone great may just give you a call.
After communicating with a caregiving candidate over or phone email, you will want to schedule a brief interview in a public place; this is both for your safety and theirs. The interview doesn’t have to be long — usually, you will know right away if you like them. It’s always good to have a list of questions to ask them so you don’t forget to ask anything important. If you decide to go with an agency to help you find caregivers, don’t forget to be very specific about who you are looking for. Let the agency know everything you want and what you don’t want in a caregiver so they can find the right caregiver for you.
Before starting your search, make a list of the qualities you want in a caregiver:
- What hours are they needed? How many days a week?
- What tasks do you need help with?
- What attributes are you looking for?
- What kind of personality should your caregiver have? (efficient, friendly, quiet, reliable, professional – what do you prefer?)
Finding good caregivers is difficult, but worthwhile. In addition to finding someone who can do everything you need them to do, your personalities and schedules need to match up. When the professional relationship does work, potentially embarrassing or awkward situations such as bladder or bowel accidents become much more tolerable. Please watch the video below to learn more on finding caregivers, and make sure to read the Takeaway Points below.
Video: How to find a Good Caregiver
- You may have to go through several caregivers to find the right one
- Create a list of the qualities you’re looking for in a caregiver
- You can search for your own caregiver or have an agency search for you
- Be choosy when searching; don’t just settle
- Look for compassionate, reliable, friendly, and patient people