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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