Covid-19 Brings to Light the Importance
and Shortages of Caregivers
By: Brian Elliott
This pandemic reveals an essentially needed service for some people with disabilities. Whether you refer to them as a Personal Assistant, Aide, Caregiver, or something else, their role cannot be denied importance. But, what happens if you need to find a replacement on short notice?
The Covid-19 pandemic has created a world where agencies that can typically staff these positions, are no longer able to meet the demand. Businesses are closed, potential workers are afraid to go out or calling in sick. Leaving many people trying to figure out how they are going to get the help they need.
While the needs of the position will vary by the person, finding an assistant may seem daunting during a time like now, but it is not unachievable and here are a few options that can help to find an assistant.
Explaining what your needs are is truly an important part. It helps to draw people in and allows for them to get a grasp of what you will be asking of them. People often do not know what it takes to be an assistant for a person with a disability, and the tasks will vary by the person’s needs. Another important detail is the time of day that the assistant will be needed and the hours that the position will require. Is it only an hour or two in the morning or night, or full day shifts that will be needed? How much will the person be paid for their services with you? One additional tip, remember that cash is king and money makes the world go round. If you are in a financial position to help boost the pay for your personal assistants, it may help draw applicants and retain their employment, avoiding a revolving door of assistants.
Ask Friends & Family
Friends and family are one of the best resources to ask if they would be willing to help or know of anybody that may be interested. People are more likely to work for someone they know rather than a stranger. An important detail when searching for a new assistant is explaining what your needs are. If nothing else, letting them know your needs can help in case they cross paths with someone.
Social Media has a Broad Reach
Consider using social media sites like Facebook in multiple ways. You can use it to ask friends and family from your personal page or set up a page to post a job ad. You will have to start your own page as a business or organization, but it will allow you post under jobs https://facebook.com/jobs. Not only are there millions of users, but during a time like now, there are many people looking for any aspect of work. Whether you are able to provide full-time hours or you are in need of just a few hours, you may be a perfect fit for someone in your area. An added benefit would be seeing if you know people in common and possibly using them as a reference. The person will be in your home after all, any background or references you can get may be helpful. Also check if your town has any social media and any local groups you could join. They may know some people or references that will help.
Reach out to the Local CIL
Centers for Independent Living (CIL) are all across the country, divided up by counties in every state. CIL’s are incredible resources of information for anybody with a disability. Locate your nearest CIL and contact them for information, as they may know even more resources that you haven’t checked into. If they are not able to provide anything new, they may be able to assist with the process and help facilitate getting your needs met.
Throughout the searching process, remember that an assistant’s critical role of helping people with disabilities in their daily lives may not be known by the general population and in times of need may make it difficult getting proper help. The details you provide will be very helpful in your job posting, friends and family are a great first resource, using social media can broaden your reach, and don’t forget to check in with your local CIL. Don’t let your search discourage you and taking these steps will at least share the needs you have, convey the importance of proper systems to daily living, and help spread the word by letting other people and technology reach people you may not encounter otherwise.