Hear from one of our Home Helpers, Cal Watson, on her own experience of looking for ad hoc help around the house after a skiing accident left her unable to carry out day-to-day tasks.
When the wheels fall off and you need an extra pair of hands
I am a working mum of two children and, like most mums I know, juggle several responsibilities at the same time, trying to keep everybody happy. It works most days, other days the wheels fall off temporarily as I try (and fail) to be in two places at the same time. My story is not unique in that respect, we all live busy lives.
Of course, an extra pair of hands would be welcome from time to time, but I would never consider hiring in help. That was until I had a nasty accident on a family skiing trip. Overnight I was out of action and wheelchair bound. I needed an operation on my knee and the daunting thought of not being able to look after my children, run a busy household and go to work hit me hard.
Pride doesn’t just come before a fall, but after one too
My husband, wider family and friends were all amazing rallying around, but as a fiercely independent person I was so reluctant to ask for help.
I was fortunate in that I knew my disability was temporary, but while my body recovered from the operation, I got more and more frustrated at not being able to do very basic household tasks, such as putting a load of washing on, making the beds, preparing dinner and picking up after the children.
Where to look for a home helper
I needed some help at home, but I didn’t know where to start looking. A quick search on Google only brought up domiciliary care and live-in care agencies. There was no way, that I could see, of finding a local person looking for temporary work that could provide the flexible solution I needed.
After weeks of muddling through, a friend of a friend introduced me to Carol, a lovely local lady who was looking for flexible work to fit in around her own family. Carol was a lifesaver to me at that time – she came 3-4 days a week and worked extra whenever I needed her to. Unlike calling in favours from friends, I was never embarrassed to call her for extra help. She took care of the food shopping, light household tasks and meal preparation and was great company to save me wallowing in self-pity.
Providing a lifeline
Carol was indispensable in the weeks following my knee operation and even today she comes once a week to help with all the little things around the home.
If only Close to Hand had been around when I’d had my fall, it would have made finding Carol as simple as reaching for my mobile and typing in my requirements.
The simplicity of the online service and knowing what a huge support it can be was all the encouragement I needed to join as a Home Helper myself, being there to help others on an ad hoc basis. I have a day job, but that doesn’t stop me being there for people in the evening and on weekends.
Speed up your recovery
I’ve learnt that there is no shame in getting practical help when you need it; it makes no sense to struggle on and my recovery was faster as a result.