How to Find Wonderful Housemates & Caregivers

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Artwork: Robin Mead

If you are homebound, the people you live with are very important. Sometimes those are the only people you see!

Most states have programs that provide free home aides or caregivers to people who are low income and cannot care for themselves. To find out more, check out: How to Get a Caregiver. If your looking for your dream housemate or perfect caregiver, here’s some ideas to get you started:

THE EASIEST AND BEST WAY

We will start out with the easiest and best way. If this way doesn’t work, you can try some of the (many!) other plans on this page. The easiest and best way to find a home aide is to ask someone you know already and like already and trust already.

Don’t do this

Don’t say to your friend, “I’m hiring a home aide. Are you interested in the job?” Your friend will probably say, “no.”

Instead try this

Make a personal request; Tell the person how much you like them; Tell the person why you think they would be a great home aide; Tell the person why you feel more comfortable asking them or working with them than other people; Tell the person how much it would help you; Tell them any benefits you can offer (for example, if you can be very flexible with schedule, make disability accommodations, allow breaks, etc).

Ask if they would be willing to try it for two weeks on a trial basis to see if they like it. Ask if they would be willing to think about it and not answer right away.

You will be surprised…. there is a good chance they will say yes! If they can’t do it, ask if they can think of any other friends who might be interested and why they think that other person might be a good aide. Then contact the new person and do the same thing: tell them all the reasons you heard they would be great.

If you can’t find someone the easiest and best way, then you may find it helpful to write an ad or post about what you are looking for. Here’s a few ideas:

WRITING YOUR AD 

Heading

If you are a Spoonie, you may need a quiet, low-key, understanding household. We have found that if you write the word “quiet” right in the title of the ad in big letters, some people will read the ad based just on seeing this word. Those are your 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”

On the other hand, some people just write:

  • “Room for rent in three-bedroom house”
  • “Disability Home Aide Wanted”

Judge for yourself. Which would you be more likely to click on?

What to Write

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.

What to Avoid

A lot of people want to include everything they do not want, so that they can screen out bad people. But that’s not what happens. What happens is you screen out good people. The more daunting or demanding or negative your ad is, the less responses you will get.

Let’s take an example: There is no need to write “NO CHEMICALS” in your ad. If you meet a wonderful, kind communicative person, you can make an agreement with them about chemicals. If you fill your ad with the word “NO” that wonderful kind person may never respond, and you’ve missed the opportunity. Here’s some statements to avoid:

  • “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”

or

  • “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.

Good Riddance

If you would like a diverse, tolerant household, we have found that if you write “LGBT queer friendly” at the top of the page, that will usually cause a lot of people to self-select out. That is less work for you having to screen people!

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 an ad.

WHERE TO LOOK 

Here’s a few places to get started posting your ad:

Ask Your Friends

It’s a good idea to start out by asking friends for recommendations or anyone they know who might be interested. Call your friends or send them a copy of your ad and ask if they have any ideas.

Bulletin Boards

Bulletin boards at a local health food store are often a great place to find people. If you belong to a church or community group, see if there is a bulletin board or newsletter where you can post your ad.

Online Groups

If you are in any local email groups or Facebook Groups, ask the moderator if you can post your ad. Even if your post is off topic, some moderators will allow it. (for example, one reader found a great caregiver by posting in a local animal rescue group – people who love animals can make great caregivers!)

Care.Com

This costs money, but some people have good experiences finding people on Care.com

Homeshare

Homeshare is an international network of people who provide support and companionship to a householder in exchange for free or low-cost accommodation.

Spoonie & Disability Roommates

Housing Resources (scroll down to find links to Facebook groups for Spoonie housemates)

Facebook

There are three things you can do on Facebook that will greatly increase the amount of people who see your post:

  1.  Make sure to set the post to “public.” There is a little button under your name where you can switch from “friends only” to “public.” If you don’t switch to public, very few people will see your notice, and even if it looks like your friends have shared it, people will not actually see it.
  2. Tag your friends in the post. Tag should be directly in the post (not in the comments) for the most people to see it.
  3. Write your friends. Send a personal message and ask if they will share your post or tag anyone who might be interested.

Craigslist

 

Don’t restrict yourself to the housing and help wanted section. You can find great people by posting in “creative gigs” “artists” and “childcare”

Joining Community

If you are interested in communes, eco-villages, co-housing, cooperatives and other types of alternative living, you may be able to find a whole bunch of fabulous housemates all at once: Community Is The Best Medicine: Cooperative Living on a Disability Income

STAY SAFE

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

LILAC’S 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 if we have any friends in common, so I can write to those friends and ask for the inside scoop. If you live in a smallish area, anyone like-minded may 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, it may be safer not to consider that person.

APPLYING FOR HOME AIDES

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

If you are applying for a home aide through a Home & Community Based Care Waiver, you will be given a choice: Select your own aide or get someone sent through an agency.

If you select your own person, it will be more work and more paperwork for you. However, many people who go through an agency wind up unhappy.

A person sent by an agency may not be able to meet your needs (for example, if you need them to be scent free). They also may have certain restrictions (for example, the agency may not allow them to drive you places, and may not allow them to handle your money – so they cannot take you to the doctor or shop for you).

Learn more about: How to Decide: Agency Care or Self-Directed Care

Extra Good Stuff

More benefits and bonuses and good stuff you may be able to get if you have a live-in caregiver: How to Get Extra Help if You Have a Live-In Caregiver

More benefits and bonuses and good stuff you may be able to get if you have a caregiver through a Medicaid or state program: How to Get Extra Help if You Are in a Medicaid Waiver Program

If you live in HUD, Section 8 or USDA housing, you may be able to offer someone free rent in exchange for being your live in aide: Housing Resources

 


SAMPLE CAREGIVER AD #1

SEEKING KINDHEARTED GENTLE 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.

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, gentle, calm
  • Kind and compassionate
  • Has car and able to drive
  • Able to lift things
  • Likes cats
  • 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. We are looking for someone who: Has 3 references. Please have reliable transportation. Please have a cell phone. Please be a non smoker. You will need to be able to see and work in dim lighting


SAMPLE HOUSEMATE AD

Quiet, Calm, Eco-Friendly Household

We are seeking a housemate for our beautiful, quiet, calm house. The house is charming and spacious, set back from the road, and surrounded by flowering trees.

We are seeking a quiet housemate. Writers, scholars, healers, activists, and vegetarians especially welcome.

Household includes people with disabilities and welcomes people with disabilities and chronic illnesses. People from all spiritual paths, religious backgrounds, sexual orientations, cultures and races are welcome.

We are LGBT friendly, and we support immigrants rights, animal rights, disability rights, and social justice causes.

We are a scent-free and environmentally-friendly household and use non-toxic cleaning products and no personal scented products. Please respond by writing and telling us a little about yourself and how you might be a good match for our household.


Updated January 2018. Please comment below with your questions, stories, input and ideas. Also: kindly let us know if any links on this page stop working. If you liked this page, please share with others by pressing one of these magic buttons: 

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