Category Archives: Craigslist

Amazing Disability Garage Sale and Craigslist Finds

Like any true Midwest girl, I go crazy for a good garage sale. Tables lined up with treasures just waiting to be discovered, musky garages deep with God knows what, nothing makes me happier than dedicating a morning or a afternoon to garage saleing. Well almost nothing; scoring a deal on Craigslist comes in a close second.

And these cheap shopping venues become a million times better when you find something you really need – an item related to your disability. Yes, finding a deal on a product manufacturers would otherwise love to stick it to you on feels good. We all know upcharges abound on medical products.
From wheelchairs to automatic beds, you can go house-poor just getting what you need. Here are four items I’ve either bought or sold on Craigslist or at garage sales that have completely improved my life as a person with a disability.
Rolling overbed table: You know these tables well if you’ve spent any time in a hospital, rolling bedside/overbed tables are lifesavers when you’re in the hospital, but they’re also pretty great when you’re at home and have a mobility disability.  Nothing beats having everything you need on a rolling table right by your bed. 
I would be lost without mine, and I wouldn’t even have it in the first place if it wasn’t for a garage sale I went to nearly 18 years ago (a person with a significant disability died down the street from my family and their family had a garage sale). When we went, this is where we found the rolling overbed table. 
We got it for $5 and I’ve been using it every night since (I don’t think I’ve spend $5 on anything better in my whole life). 
Trapeze bar: Not as cool as the circus trapeze, a bed trapeze is one of those must-have items if you need it – it helps people sit up in bed when they can’t move their torso muscles. This is a great thing for people like myself who can still move their arms, but not their torso muscles.
A trapeze is basically the cheapest alternative you can find to purchasing an automatic bed. While it’s not as cool and definitely not as easy to use, it gets the job done. And we found this at the same neighbor’s garage sale mentioned above too. We got it for $10, and since they’re made of steel, they last forever. 
I don’t you use mine anymore since I upgraded to an automatic bed, but we still have it just in case. 
Automatic bed: Back in college I made one of my biggest used disability equipment purchase – a full-sized automatic bed. I had been wanting one for awhile, but could never afford it. I was still using a twin hospital bed my sophomore year at Augsburg College. So I finally I got smart and looked online, Craigslist of course, and found a used bed that was just in my price range and exactly what I was looking for – a full-sized automatic bed for $399. Something bigger than a twin, but not too big for my britches.
That bed served me well for almost 7 years and it was extremely comfortable. Sure, it probably came from someone who had died (let’s just hope not in it lol), but it was a huge life enhancer. Sigh…I still miss that bed. So comfy.
Hoyer lift: Now we’re talking an extremely important piece of equipment for millions of people with disabilities – the Hoyer lift. This is literally the bridge for people when getting from their bed to their wheelchairs (and vice versa). I had a Hoyer lift I no longer needed and felt I should send it back into the world and sell it on Craigslist.
So that’s exactly what I did, selling it to a middle aged couple who were taking care of an elderly parent. I was more than willing to give them a deal and pass along the good juju vibes.
So the next time you’re about to stress out because you need to buy medical equipment you just can’t afford, pause the freak out session and check out both Craigslist and garage sales to see what you can find instead. And when all else fails, remember to visit; a not too shabby site that can sometimes lead to some pretty interesting used disability equipment finds too.
What awesome deals have you scored on disability equipment?
Products Mentioned
– Hoyer Manual Hydraulic Lift

Photo courtesy of Vivmilano

Why I couldn’t live alone (and happily) without Craigslist

6853270358_c89271d21d_mThe first time a PCA stole from me didn’t occur in my home strangely enough, but when I went back to the hospital for more physical rehabilitation a few years after my injury. And I knew exactly who it was too – the tall pretty blond who got me up and had a taste for the finer things in life.

It happened when my dad took me out shopping for the day and brought me back to the facility. The next morning after getting up, I noticed a few pieces of my new Clinique makeup and my new sports bra from Victoria Secret were missing.  My heart was in my stomach. This was when I started to realize you can’t blindly trust just anyone who takes care of you. They have to prove their trust.

So I went back home, the years passed, and I had many different PCA’s.  Then I was stolen again from in college when my PCA at the time took my ATM card out of my wallet while I was in the shower, and went down and took $325 out of the ATM machine (in my building’s lobby) to help pay for her boyfriend’s crack habit.

Awful, sticky business…PCA’s.  She was fired of course by me, but listen to this – not by my agency. There was no way to prove that it wasn’t an authorized withdrawal (heresay), so she remained working for them for God knows how long.  It’s sad when your agency doesn’t believe you.

This is why in 2005 I finally took on the reins of being my own PCA staffer (and staffer extraordinaire am I ever). That’s right, I now do all of the major parts of staffing by myself.  When I am in need of a new PCA, I post ad as on Craigslist, schedule a time to interview them, then if I like them, I send their information to my agency and they do the necessary paperwork.

I know not everybody can do this on their health insurance. It’s not allowed or some craziness like that. Here in Minnesota where, I’m on what’s called the PCA choice Program, where you find your own PCAs (taking your agency out of the picture mostly), allowing you to pay them more per hour.

My responsibilities include posting the ad, doing the interviewing, hiring and firing and the hardest, last minute staffing. It’s a lot more work, but being in control of who comes into my house instead of just letting ‘in,’ is something that cannot be replaced.  I know most folks have an agency that does the staffing for them, but Craigslist is a surprisingly great tool to find PCA’s on your own.

Posting a job ad on Craigslist is easy. Create an account, login, go to the “Jobs” section then click on “Post New Ad.” To post a job in the “Healthcare” section, it now costs $25.00, but you can still post an ad for free on Craigslist if you post in the “Gigs” area (in the “Domestic” section; the most appropriate area for a PCA ad to be).  Craigslist without question has been an irreplaceable tool.

There are other caregiver staffing websites, but they’re usually really expensiveand not as highly trafficked (why would you want to pay for that?).  It may seem kind of weird, but Craigslist is the reason why I’m able to live independently happily now (this was not the case when I was 25).  Now that I’m older and wiser and know how to find good people the smart way, my happiness level has skyrocketed.

Thank you Craigslist, for being the awesome website that you are.  Everybody uses you, making it amazingly powerful. Just remember people – always interview wisely and run a background check on anyone before you bring them officially into your home.  There’s nothing worse than petty thefts, especially when you get between a girl and her makeup.

Do you use Craigslist to find PCA’s?  Or do you think it’s a really bad idea?  How do you find your caregivers?


– Craigslist Healthcare Jobs 

Photo courtesy of Eli Duke

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