Should You Hire A Caregiver For Periodic Paralysis?
Does having periodic paralysis mean that you need to hire a caregiver? It’s definitely something to consider. Even though you try your best to be self-reliant, there are still a lot of challenges and limitations that you experience because of periodic paralysis. Family, friends, and neighbors can help, but they aren’t always available. An experienced professional caregiver could be the solution you need. Whether you have periodic paralysis or you have a loved one who has it, it’s a good idea to seriously think about hiring a caregiver for them.
What Does A Caregiver Do?
A caregiver assists people who have illnesses and disabilities in living their daily lives. They help out with a variety of personal and medical needs. Some caregivers work in-home, meaning that they live with their patient. Other caregivers work with multiple patients and travel to each patient’s residence part-time on a set schedule.
One common misconception about caregivers is that they are just for seniors. The truth is, it doesn’t matter what your age is — caregivers help people of all ages! If you (or a loved one) struggle with doing day-to-day tasks because of periodic paralysis symptoms, a caregiver can work with you to make your life easier and keep you safer.
PPA President Linda Feld has plenty of experience with caregivers, so she knows why they’re so crucial: “Somebody has to be there for you when you have periodic paralysis, because when you become paralyzed, you’ve got to have somebody that you can call on.”
Can Family And Friends Be Caregivers?
The word “caregiver” is sometimes used to describe family and friends who take care of a loved one who needs assistance. Christine Z., who has periodic paralysis, describes making arrangements with family and neighbors:
“My husband would be my primary caregiver, and my mom only lives a couple of hours away, so she’ll come up if necessary. I have also made all my neighbors aware … They know, if I can text 9-1-1, they know to just come on in the house, this is my medicine, this is what you do. I do have a service dog as well.”
Receiving care from family or friends is nice because you are familiar with them. However, family and friends are not professionals, so they don’t have the level of knowledge and experience that a professional caregiver would have. Also, because family and friends are not professionals, they tend to have many other obligations that come up, making their schedule inconsistent. Professional caregivers are dedicated to caring for you on a regular schedule because it is their job to do so. That is a reason why many people switch from having family and friends as caregivers to hiring a professional.
“There are caregivers out there for people who don’t have family members, and even for people who do have family members, because it’s a lot for somebody to constantly have to take care of someone. … I have to have help every single day of the year,” Linda explains.
What If The Caregiver Is A Bad Fit?
One reason that some people are hesitant about hiring a caregiver is the fear of having a caregiver who isn’t a good fit. If you’re feeling this way, it’s understandable. Hiring a caregiver requires a great deal of trust. You wouldn’t want to have a caregiver who doesn’t listen carefully to you and isn’t willing to go the extra mile to meet your needs.
The very first thing to make sure of is that a thorough background check is performed before you hire someone. However, even a caregiver with a clean background check still may not be a good fit. Maybe they don’t show up on time consistently, or maybe they aren’t very attentive. This article from Care.com explains how to handle the situation when a caregiver does not provide quality service. It’s best to have clear and honest communication with the caregiver about what they can do to improve. If things still don’t get better, you will need to hire a different caregiver who can give you the quality care you deserve.
Don’t let the fear of getting a less-than-stellar caregiver stop you from looking for a caregiver in the first place. If you don’t try to hire a caregiver, you’ll miss out on finding wonderful people who make a huge positive difference in your life! Linda puts it this way: “There are always going to be bad ‘fits’ when hiring. Don’t take it personally. Get out of the situation and move on. There are people who will become part of your family!”
How Can I Find A Caregiver?
If you would like to explore your options to hire a caregiver, here are a few places to look:
“Finding a caregiver is not the easiest option to do,” says Linda, who prefers to hire through Craigslist. She has some caregiver hiring tips:
Think about whether you want to use an agency or hire independently.
“Agencies are good if you are looking for a temporary situation, but are very expensive for full-time live-in care.”
Consider your income situation.
“People need to work in tandem with their doctor, as those with lower incomes qualify for other benefits, especially through their individual state.”
Write a detailed job description that clearly explains what you want in a caregiver.
“You need to be very specific when hiring. … I have posted an extensive ‘needs’ list.”
It may help to advertise beyond your local area.
“I advertise in states other than the one I live in. Especially good are states where you know there is high unemployment.”
Keep yourself safe when meeting someone for first time.
“Background checks are mandatory for any hire, and they know this up front. I meet them in person at a neutral location, and always with someone else there with me.”
Personality fit is important.
“If this person is going to live in your house, make sure you also like them as an individual.”
Have a probationary period and a notice period.
“All of my caregivers are hired on a 30-day probationary period. I prefer not to sign a contract, for my benefit and theirs. I do ask for 30-day notice of them leaving, unless there are circumstances that intervene making it impossible for them to work.”
Be a friend, not just an employer!
“There are so many really good people available and looking for a place to live. Being a friend as well as an employer goes miles.”
Why Caregivers Are Special
Caregivers are incredibly valuable in the lives of people who have periodic paralysis. Periodic paralysis patients are remarkably strong and capable of doing many things, but still, it makes a world of a difference to have someone who genuinely cares about you and wants to help!
If you’ve never hired a caregiver before, it may seem confusing. It can be scary to meet someone new and make a decision to trust them to take care of you or your loved one. But once you find a caregiver who is a great fit, it’s truly amazing how you can form a bond with them and have peace of mind knowing that they’re there for you. PPA board member Monica C. describes how fortunate she is to have caregivers:
“I’m very independent. I have a service dog. I don’t like to be told that I can’t do anything, so it’s very important to me that if I’m out — or if I’m home — that I can make a call and someone’s got my back. I would not be able to do the things that I do, like being on the PPA board and whatnot, if it was not for my caregivers.”