Give a Caregiver a Break

HELP WANTED: Untrained family member or friend to act as advocate, researcher, care manager, and emotional support for a parent or spouse, sibling or friend [or adult child], who has been diagnosed with a serious illness or chronic disability. Duties: Make medical decisions, negotiate with insurance companies or Medicare; pay bills; legal work; personal care and entertainment in hospital and rehab. Aftercare at home: Substitute for a skilled nurse if injections, IV, oxygen, wound care or tube feedings are required. Long-term care: Medication management, showering, toileting, lifting, transporting, etc. Hours: On demand. Salary and benefits: 0.” Excerpt taken from Passages in Caregiving by Gail Sheely, 2010.

No one but a parent or loved one would do ALL of this for absolutely NO money. 

Honestly, some things do go missing, like regular hair appointments. I don’t think anyone in our home has come in contact with a deep conditioning in months, maybe a year. Dental visits. Is an annual exam and cleaning enough? Well, it has to be in my home. Partially because there are NO DENTAL PROVIDERS for “exceptional adults” like my sister in the area. Which means we have to travel (gas up, plan for lunch away from the home, and oh yeah, take the “day off” from work) just to go the dentist.

But I’m not complaining; only explaining.

Appointments for all medical treatments create the same type of challenges with time away from work.

In these moments, family caregivers need outside help.  Most times that help comes in the name of a “Personal Care Assistant.”  PCAs are hired to come and do some of the jobs aforementioned so we can keep our jobs.

So where do we find them?

Everywhere, nowhere, here and there, a referral, a request.There is so much need for good and consistent PCAs. Which is why I wrote thisblog.

During my search, I found that 4349 other families/companies as of this posting were also looking for PCAs in Florida. (Indeed). 130 of them are in my zip code, alone.

Give a Caregiver a Break

So why are personal care assistants so elusive?

Money. The average pay for a PCA in my area is $10 and the work is usually part-time.

Although, I believe they should be paid MORE. PCA work is an admirable and good entry-level job for a person with the right heart and who is willing to grow within this industry. The compensation can become very lucrative if you have entrepreneurial skills.

But for starters, the requirements for PCAs are minimum:

  • A High School Diploma
  • National and Local Background Checks
  • CPR, HIV, HIPAA, First Aid and a couple of other trainings.

That’s it. And some private pay families, agencies and larger companies will underwrite the costs to get you started. Ask the

The other alternative, which is also one my family is looking into, is finding an energetic and healthy person willing to volunteer* their time to help families like ours. *Only until they are certified.

We believe people with big hearts, like retired teachers and nurses or students, would love this opportunity and fit well with these exceptional families. And we would love to have you. So please consider giving a caregiver a break.

If that’s you’re interested, please comment below or email me: leah@reallyleah.com and let’s get you plugged into the network .