vulnerable - should I have home support visits or wait until vaccination
February 17, 2021 10:33 AM   Subscribe

I am vulnerable due to bipolar disorder and am very isolated, living alone and no events to go to except online. I'm trying to decide whether to use support worker time to have them help me tidy my home, or to go for walks and chats until I have been vaccinated. More below the fold.

As a vulnerable disabled person, I got given 4 hours a week of support worker time in September (I help contribute towards the cost). With restrictions, it's more like 2 phone calls a week and an in-person appointment which is anywhere between 30 minutes and two hours. Before restrictions, the idea was to have one two hour appointment to jointly tidy and the other to go to a cafe and sit in and chat. Recently we have been having two phone calls a week and usually one walk, takeaway coffee and chat, except for one home visit where I needed an area tidied so someone could fix my gas boiler. I am doing badly at tidying left to my own devices and the clutter and mess everywhere is a bit depressing. Legally as a vulnerable person people are allowed into my home to provide care, but of course in general the government says dont have someone from another household in your home so I know it's not 100% safe even with masks on. Sometimes I just wish I could hire a skip and throw away all my old books and magazines and just use Kindle and Audible in future. I have wasted so much money on books I never read and seeing them is kind of depressing too. Basically I am looking for help navigating the decision to either work on tidying at home with support, but risk catching Covid, or live in a mess until I can get vaccinated. I am 51 and diabetic so not a top priority to get vaccinated but hopefully it might happen in the next two months, at least the first dose.
posted by AuroraSky to Health & Fitness (9 answers total)
Are they allowed to tidy while you're not there? If so, why not have them tidy while you go for a walk, etc.? Not being in the same enclosed space together will substantially reduce the risk.
posted by praemunire at 10:43 AM on February 17, 2021 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Genuinely don't know - wouldn't hurt me to ask. Another charity that helped me with on a short term basis had a strict rule the client had to be there at the time - I think that was in case people made false allegations of things being stolen maybe? I think my assumption would be I would need to be nearby but possibly I could open the windows and be 1m or 2m away.
posted by AuroraSky at 10:53 AM on February 17, 2021

If you need to tidy with them, if you both wear N95/KN95/etc. masks, and have the windows open during the visit (which it sounds like you can do), and you mostly stay 6ft apart, while the risk won't be zero, it will be pretty low - and it sounds the the risk to your well being without tidying is considerable. I'd also base this somewhat on what COVID is like where you are - how high is the positivity rate where you are?
posted by coffeecat at 11:02 AM on February 17, 2021 [10 favorites]

The case rate is falling here quite substantially and the vaccination programme is going well. I would be inclined to get the support you need with tidying. Wear masks, social distance and ventilate the space (keep the window open).
posted by plonkee at 11:42 AM on February 17, 2021 [3 favorites]

If you are physically able to tidy but are struggling to do so without support, it might help for your support worker to assign you a task and then check on it the next visit. For example: "By next week, you should sort through the stock of books on the desk and pick 20 to donate or sell." They might even be able to come in for a few minutes to check and assign the next task, which is safer than a lengthy visit.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 11:42 AM on February 17, 2021 [3 favorites]

Are you able to do video calls? I find myself ten times more able to do tidying tasks with someone just physically present in the room with me, and it turns out hands-free video calls work similarly. If this is not an issue of physical ability for you, perhaps setting up a video call with the camera on an area you want to tackle that day and having your support person keep you verbally on task or lightly engaged in conversation might be an okay balance until vaccines are gotten. You might not be as effective as them at tidying but at least it wouldn’t be a completely stalled process.

If part of the problem is getting rid of items once you have removed them from your living spaces, could you arrange a drop off space (I’m thinking a porch or garage) where you can leave things and your support person could come take them away, no contact needed?

It is entirely possible that the support workers have encountered similar situations to your own and have preferences and idea for how to navigate this. Have you asked them?
posted by Mizu at 12:12 PM on February 17, 2021 [1 favorite]

My adult daughter lives on her own and is struggling with different challenges with almost identical impact. She consulted with us and we supported her decision to have someone come into her home to help tidy and organize. There is some risk but also a big payoff in terms of quality of life. Having her home be organized and dishes and bathroom and floors clean just makes every day a little less stressful. Living in mess and clutter was not only stressful but also made her feel worse about herself for not being able to stay on top of it. In terms of risk, they both wear masks and they keep physically distant. Other than physical therapy and certain doctor's appointments, it is her only risky encounter. You have to make your own tradeoff but this is what made sense for her.
posted by metahawk at 1:06 PM on February 17, 2021 [3 favorites]

How much air flow can you get into your home? I absolutely don't want anyone inside my place, but I really can't get air flow into here and don't have windows and only one openable door. If you can REALLY get the house frigid with fresh air from screen doors and windows...maybe? Also, how sheltered is the helper that is coming in?
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:10 PM on February 17, 2021

I think you should accept this support and talk with the helpers in advance of strategies on how it can be best done safely, on line or in person.
posted by smorgasbord at 9:35 PM on February 18, 2021

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