Previous “House Call” columns on grocery delivery and cleaning services might benefit an audience far beyond the disability community. This month we’ll narrow the focus and talk about how people with disabilities can live more independently. There are some basic needs that must be met for a person with physical limitations to live in his or her own home. Family members and neighbors often help with household tasks, such as shoveling snow or picking up prescriptions. For private needs, such as bathing and dressing, a trained professional might be a good option. People who need help with day-to-day assistance to meet their personal care needs should consider hiring a personal care attendant (PCA).
Personal Care Attendants
One day at work, I had to laugh at my co-worker’s frustration when her ailing mother-in-law called to “tell” her to bring her some bananas. This may seem like a simple request or a demand in this case, but sometimes the help needed by people with limited mobility isn’t so simple. Hygiene assistance, wound care and medication distribution can potentially harm the recipient, if not performed by a trained or careful person.
If you consider hiring a PCA, first determine what level of care is needed. It might be helpful to review your needs through discussions with involved family members. When necessary, consult your physician(s), social worker, hospital, or nursing-home staff. Personal care attendant services vary widely.
If you’re looking for someone to perform light housekeeping, try HomeWatch or Comfort Keepers. For companion care and help with household duties, contact Home Instead Senior Care. Maybe just having someone from Visiting Angels or City Zen Concierge check on you will provide the companionship you need. The Alzheimer’s Association has an extensive list of specialized home companions for individuals afflicted with the disease.
If it is important to take your vital signs or monitor your oxygen use, make sure that these tasks are performed by a registered nurse. In-Home Personal Care offers home health aides (HHA) and supervision by registered nurses (RN). Some people may choose to have a live-in PCA from A+ Home Care, while others may be comfortable with on-call 24/7 emergency help from HomeWatch Caregivers of Minnesota. In all cases, make sure that a background check has been done on helpers coming into your home.
Your relationship with your personal care attendant should be comfortable and trusting. Most companies offer a free home assessment, but you should also consider it an interview. Once you find a PCA to help with daily activities, you may also have found a friend.
Lisa Schmidtke is the President and Founder of House-calls Network. She can be reached by email at [email protected] or by phone at 952-221-0722. Housecalls Network does not endorse any particular provider. They assume no responsibility for transactions between the readers of this article and listed organizations.