Where can I find someone to help my parents with house cleaning?

1 answer | Last updated: Dec 23, 2009
A fellow caregiver asked...

My parents are 89 and 75 and are still living at home. They need help with house cleaning. Where can I find help for them?

Expert Answers

As Founder and Director of Circles of Care, Ann Cason provides caregiving, consulting, and training services to individuals and public and private organizations involved in eldercare. She is the author of Circles of Care: How to Set Up Quality Home Care for Our Elders.

Many older people will accept help with housecleaning as a first step into accepting care. 

If it is strictly house cleaning you are look for, I  suggest a cleaning service that sends two people who clean the house in half the time.  Also, they bring their own equipment and cleaning supplies. Look in the yellow pages, interview and get references for the company. 

If you are looking for a person to enter your parent's world as a helping friend---that is different.  The housecleaner often becomes a trusted friend.

One way is to ask around in your parent's part of town. Ask the hair dresser, coffee shop personnel, dry cleaner, yard man.  Ask any friends if they know someone. Ask at any kind of small business in the area. People at the church often know someone who has an opening. 

Look on bulletin boards around the community. Many house cleaners who have an opening will put cards up at coffee shops, grocery stores, libraries, etc. 

It is hard work finding a housecleaner then  to build trust.  Interview the person yourself.  If you like her or him, then take the person to meet your parents. Beyond getting references. it is good to get to know the person. Keep in contact.  Some older people get very nervous about having a stranger in the house. 

The main complaint from family caregivers about their parent's housecleaner is that the parent spends too much time talking to the person so that the house does not get clean enough.

Another complaint is that they have to spend too much time soothing the feelings of the housekeeper who has been accused of theft.  And too much time listening to their parent's make the accusations.

Another common point of contention is that the house cleaner does not clean in the right way and does not get the house as clean as it once was

After you find a person you are interested in hiring, let the person know that you will be supportive.  Let the person know that you will be available for communication of any kind. There are house cleaners who don't want to work for an old person, because it might be too complicated in terms of communication.