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Strangers in the House

Hi everyone! I hope you all are doing well and had a great week! Today I want to talk about having outside help in the house because it certainly is something.


We have had outside help for about 11 years (Cate was 10 when we first began). Typically Cate has home health aides in the afternoon for about 24 hours a week and then overnight nurses most nights. With the pandemic we have not had any help because we were not comfortable bringing in people to the house and possibly subjecting us to Covid, but prior to the pandemic we almost always did. Outside help for me has been very hot and cold because it all depends on the person. My family has had some absolutely amazing people come into our lives. People who we still keep in touch with even though they have since moved on from our house. I was even in the wedding of one of our first aides, who now has become a nurse practitioner, and we are a part of each other's families. There also have been some very bad people, but finding the good people still has always outweighed the bad ones.


Let's face it. It is really really hard having a complete stranger come into your home to take care of your sibling/child. You have to find very specific people who meet your needs and that you can trust. When I was younger, I loved having Cate's aides and nurses around because: a. we had amazing people when Cate was younger and; b. it was like having someone else to play with. I was 6 when we first began having people come in, so while Cate napped my favorite aides would hang out with me, which I loved. As I have gotten older, I have grown to be pickier and pickier about who I want around because I now know what I like and what I do not.


I can be a cranky teenager, and I do not want someone to be all up in my business all the time. We have had aides that have come into the room I was in and sit down and talk to me, and also people who have just decided to sit on the couch next to me at night. This has become a big red alert for me. This is really irritating for me because I want my space and my boundaries to be respected. My home is my happy little bubble, my safe haven, and it has become really hard for me to want/accept people into my bubble as I have gotten older. When I go to bed and wake up, the overnight nurses are there, and when I get home from practice or school, the aides are there. These parts of my day usually include my crankiest moments, and they are the times I just want to chill alone or with my parents. I think feeling like my space has been invaded has been one of the hardest things for me with having outside help in my house.


Having strangers come into your house is really hard and I have learned that being picky is not always a bad thing because you need to remember and try and get what works for your family.


The best way to deal with the situation of inviting strangers into your home is to have open conversations as a whole family. After we have a new person come in or if there is an issue, I will sit down with my parents and we will discuss the person. My parents have always told me that I had just as much as a say in the person as they did because this situation greatly affects me too. If an issue comes up or if I do not like something that an aide or nurse is doing, I know I can bring it up to my parents and we can figure something out. For example, we had an aide who would sit next to me on the couch and then another who was very very loud in the house, and because of the open conversations we have as a family, I was able to voice what was not going right, and my parents talked to the person to help make the change for me. Finding the right person is really hard, but it is so much help to have people into the house for Cate. Your feelings are valid and I would never say it is easy, but it is all about trial and error.


I hope you all have a great week!


-Alex

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