Q: I've had live-in attendants for the past 15 years and have had good luck finding people until the last couple times. It's getting impossible to find people to live in! What do I do? I don't want to end up in a nursing home!
A: I was having the same problem a year ago when I decided to change my ad from seeking "one live-in caregiver" to "people to work one or more nights per week." I was suddenly inundated with responses! I have since found this system to work so well, I will never go back to one live-in. Here's how it works:
Three girls share a furnished bedroom. Each is given dresser and closet space. They bring their own bedding as well as items to share in the room (TV, alarm clock, plants, and decorations). I provide cable TV connection.
After they were all hired, I had them over for dinner. Although they will never work at the same exact time, they will be functioning as a team with my care. I disseminated work schedules and each other's phone numbers. I encouraged them to make their own work schedules in the future and to feel free to trade work days with each other as needed.
I post the master schedule where ALL changes MUST be written. If conflicts occur, the person's name that appears on that schedule will be held accountable, though I've never had one conflict or problem. This system has given the girls tremendous autonomy and flexibility.
My goal is to have someone here every night to do my care. As long as that goal is met, it is in everyone's best interest that I remain as flexible as possible in letting them work out whatever schedule they wish. Of course, I still will dictate work times and special requests if needed.
This system works beautifully for me.
No longer do I worry what I'll do when someone gets sick or leaves, as there is a TEAM to help pick up the slack if one member is unable to work.
No longer do I worry about whether or not someone is being worked too much or too little, as she calls the shots on when she works and when she doesn't.
No longer do I worry what I'll do if I get sick and need extra help, as there are several people who care for me ... and care about me!
No longer is there a good chance that we will get on each other's nerves, as there three different people here, not one! Variety truly is the spice of life.
My only dilemma is how to answer when asked if I have a "live-in attendant." But I've now come to say I have 'live-out' live-ins!
Q: I make flyers then post them all over, but I seldom get responses. What am I doing wrong?
A: Here are some tips for making flyers more effective.
DO make your flyers on 8.5" x 11" sized paper.
DO use a computer to design the flyer. If you don't have one, find someone who does to ensure a visually appealing notice.
DO put your greatest selling point in large, bold type: "FREE ROOM & BOARD" or "EARN $3000/MO." Put your specifics on the second line in smaller type: "Woman with disability seeks live-in caregiver."
DO use clear, bold, easy-to-read fonts (sans serif preferred). Limit the variety of fonts used to three.
DO include all pertinent information: pay, days, hours, location, duties, etc. Block similar information together using smaller type such as, "LOCATION: Southside of city; 2 miles from City Hospital; 3 miles from University; on bus line."
DO use bold, brightly colored paper to draw attention to flyer. "Astrobright" colors are found at most copy centers. I like Solar Yellow, Liftoff Lemon, and Terra Green. They are bright and cheery, yet light enough to be readable.
DO include a photograph if it will help "sell" yourself. Since people often associate caregivers with the elderly, a photo showing you as a vibrant, happy, active, well-groomed, or professional person may allay those concerns.
DO use tear-off tags at the bottom of the flyer with your first name, phone number and/or e-mail address.
DO post the flyers in appropriate places. If you don't seek to hire the people who generally frequent a particular location, don't post flyers there. It may sound simplistic, but not everyone thinks this through.
DON'T print your ads on 3" x 5" index cards. These may work for finding free kittens but not for finding PCAs!
DON'T design the flyer using Magic Markers and Glitter Sticks.
DON'T make your headline "ATTENDANT NEEDED" or "DISABLED MAN NEEDS HELP." Remember, the reader is always thinking, "What's in this for me?"
DON'T use fancy type or scrolling fonts. Never use cursive-style type. Readability is the key.
DON'T clutter the flyer with clip-art, borders, and smiley faces. It's an ad, not an art project.
DON'T use dark colored paper. It makes the type too difficult to read.
DON'T include a photo of yourself if you only have one that might intimidate respondents, such as a photo of you in bed with a myriad of equipment around you.
DON'T put your phone number in the flyer with no tear-off tags at the bottom, as readers will take the entire flyer with them for your number!
Making effective flyers take time and talent, but it is worth every ounce of effort!