When having Cerebral Palsy, you might need help with daily activities like dressing, preparing meals for you, and other things. These people who help you are known as personal care assistants (PCA). I have around five personal care assistants or aides. Without these people, I would not be able to do what I want to do every day.
Personal Care Assistants
What are personal care assistants? Well, they are individuals who are trained to help people with disabilities with daily activities. You hire them for certain times of the day to help you for a certain length of time. For me, I have three times a day when an aide helps me. In the morning, I have one for two hours. They shower me, dress me, and feed me breakfast. The next time is for lunch, which is for an hour. The last time is evening. This is for four hours. During this time, they prepare dinner, feed me, go shopping or clean my condo, and put me to bed.
I started using personal care assistants back when I was in college. When you start using them, it feels really awkward because they don’t know you and you have a stranger helping you. It is with very personal stuff like showering you especially when they are the opposite gender.
When to get a PCA
If you are a teenager and your parents always help you, how do you figure out when it is time to get a personal assistant? There is no certain time frame to start. Since I went away to college, I had to use them. Although, when I graduated from college, my dad started to help me again. So, it is your decision when you want to start.
If you feel like it is time to have a personal care assistant or several aides. it is time to figure out the number of hours you would need during the day. I think that this is the hardest thing to figure out because you have to think about a lot of things such as bathrooming, meals, and activities. There is no wrong way to determine the number of hours you will require help.
Require or Nice to Have
As you figure out when you need help, you might have to say this time I don’t really need. The process of figuring out the time is difficult sometimes. For an example, let’s say that you might need help during the afternoon for a short amount of time. To find someone for that time period, it is really difficult because people usually are looking for a longer shift to work.
It is something that you truly need help or can you do without the help. For me, around late afternoon, I usually get thirsty. To find someone for fifteen minutes, it is impossible to do. In this case, I have to ask myself if I truly need a drink or could I wait for my evening aide to come. I decided that I could wait for a few more hours to have a drink.
Some days I can’t wait for three hours to get a drink. This is when friends come in handy. Maybe you know that one of your friends gets off from work and might go past your place. You might ask them if they could stop by on the way home. I rarely do this but when I do this, it is something important. They usually stop by.. What I am trying to say is don’t abuse your friends. Friends are really important to have.
If you are thinking about hiring a personal care assistant and need more knowledge of how to go about it, I have an online course explaining the process in detail. It is an hour-long class. I take you step by step from the initial stage of figuring out if you really need an aide to firing a bad personal assistant. So you will learn a lot from this course.