I now live with my favorite people in the world. I intend to keep these people til the day I die, so no more looking for housemates for me!
It didn’t happen overnight. I have lived in many different situations. Here are some things I learned along the way:
How To Get Started
When advertising for housemates or caregivers, I usually use Craigslist, Facebook, ask friends, or post notices on the bulletin board of a local health food store.
If you have CFS/ME, you may need a quiet, low-key, understanding household. I always write the word “quiet” right in the title of the ad in big letters. Some people have told me they read my ad based just on seeing this word. Those are my people!! Sample headlines:
- “Quiet Household. Introverts Welcome”
- “Quiet, Friendly House. People with Disabilities Welcome”
- “Eco-Friendly, Nontoxic, Quiet Household seeks Kindhearted Housemates”
- “Seeking Introverted, Quiet, Compassionate Caretaker”
- “Quiet, Thoughtful Writer Seeks Eco-Friendly Home”
If you saw those headline, wouldn’t you want to click and find out more?
What to Write / What to Avoid
When writing an ad, it’s a good idea to focus on what you want. Describe all the great and positive things about you or your home, and all the wonderful qualities you are seeking in a housemate or caregiver. Once you have found someone you like, you can work together to decide your household agreements. I sometimes come across ads that are filled with statements like:
- “Don’t apply if you are not this-thing, this-thing, and this-thing”
- “You must be willing to do things this-way, this-way and this-way”
- “No drama, no messiness, no late rent, no fighting, no crooks, no frauds, no parties, no pets, no noise, no students, no slackers, no this, no that, no other thing”
- “I’m in this terrible situation right now. Why don’t you write to me so you can get involved in my problems.”
You know who responds to these kind of ads? Nobody.
I don’t like to turn away a lot of people and I don’t like to get a lot of mail, so I just let people self-select out.
In my case, I will just write “LGBT queer friendly” household in line one. That will usually do the trick. Other phrases like “diverse races, nationalities and cultural backgrounds welcome” or “social justice activists” or “people with disabilities” may also change who will respond to my ad.
Your politics may be different than mine, so you will need to write what works for you.
The Sleepy Girl Secret Special Screening Method
I’ve had a lot of success screening people on Facebook. When someone responds to my ad, if they sound promising to me, I will write back and send a link to my Facebook page or ask for their Facebook ID and then send them a friend request. Then I click on their profile picture and scroll through all the profile pics they have ever posted.
What I want to see: Lots of loving, supportive comments from friends and family over several years. Comments and tagged photos from people that appear to know this person in real life. Comments by real people who also appear to have real Facebook profiles.
What I don’t want to see: Racism, intolerance, mocking people, frat parties, little or no comments, new accounts, profiles that look fake, generic comments from strangers.
Facebook also shows me any friends I have in common with this person, so I can write to those friends and ask for the inside scoop. If you live in a smallish area, anyone like-minded will often have a few friends in common.
I also scroll down their newsfeed to see what kind of things they post. I really did not realize the world was such a racist place until I started scrolling way down in people’s newsfeeds. People sound so nice and normal when they contact you!
If someone doesn’t have a Facebook account, or the account is new and I don’t know anyone in common with this person, I usually won’t consider them.
Stay Safe Out There
People with disabilities are especially vulnerable to scams, frauds, and wrongdoing.
Please be careful with scams. Never give any kind of money by Western Union or Money Gram. Screen carefully. There are online state registries where you can do free criminal background checks, though they will not tell you if there person committed a crime in another state. Craigslist scam tips.
Please be careful with personal safety. Don’t give out your address to strangers or invite strangers into your home. Do not post your address in your ad – just write the neighborhood. Make sure to have a friend or another person with you when meeting. Craigslist personal safety tips
Qualifying for Caregivers
If you are unable to care for yourself and need assistance, there may be a program in your area that can help you. If you are low-income, some programs are free through the state. Some programs will send a caregiver from an agency, while other programs will allow you to select the caregiver of your choice. In some states your condition must be very severe to qualify. Learn more: How To Be Homebound
SAMPLE CAREGIVER AD #1
SEEKING KINDHEARTED INTROVERTED CAREGIVER
Caregiver for woman with disabilities. Personal care, cooking, light cleaning, errands, phone calls, driving. accompanying to doctors appointments. 20 hours per week. Schedule is flexible/negotiable. Relaxed, low-stress work environment.
Seeking a compassionate and understanding person. Caregiving experience not required, but must have good references that show trustworthiness. Seeking a person who is:
- Quiet, introverted personality
- Gentle, relaxed, easygoing nature
- Kind and compassionate
- Has car and able to drive
- Able to lift things
- Local to ____ neighborhood
Household is LGBT friendly. Artists, writers, activists, healers, diverse backgrounds welcome
SAMPLE CAREGIVER AD #2
Calm, Gentle, Peaceful Caregiver Needed for Artist
We are seeking a patient, kind, and compassionate caregiver who would enjoy working in a quiet, peaceful environment. We are seeking a caretaker for a wonderful woman who is a loving and creative artist. We hope to find a caretaker for some day shifts, but mostly night shifts.
“I have been severely ill for 5 years. My goal is to get well and return to a life of art making, teaching, and spreading love around the universe. In order to do that, I need a support team of people that bring ease and peace to a situation that is currently highly stressful. With the right helpers, I believe that I will start to heal. You don’t have to be a professional carer. We are looking for someone with natural caretaking skills. It is imperative that you are good at being quiet and feel completely comfortable in silence.”
We are looking for someone who: Has 3 references. Please have reliable transportation. Please be able to always arrive on time. Please have a cell phone. Please be a non smoker and come without chemical fragrances on body. You will need to be able to see and work in dim lighting