Balancing Mesothelioma and Keeping a Clean House

Woman ironing clothes

Caring for a home is a considerable amount of work.

Daily tasks, such as preparing meals, washing dishes and doing laundry, take a substantial amount of time. Weekly tasks, including sweeping, mopping and cleaning the bathroom, require even more effort.

Adding housekeeping to the to-do list of a mesothelioma caregiver often generates anxiety. It can make an already overwhelming responsibility seem more daunting.

Mom reached out to me for help from the mountain of dirty laundry and dishes that nearly buried her as Dad’s health deteriorated from mesothelioma.

Because she did double duty as wife and caregiver, Mom didn’t have time to devote herself to caring for our home anymore, and she needed my help.

I assumed the role of housekeeper for my family. After school, I would prepare meals, do laundry and help clean around the house. Mom appreciated the help so she could devote her time to Dad.

My parents needed that time together, but we — as a family — also needed a functional and clean place to live.

Is Hiring a Housekeeper Right for You?

When providing care for a loved one with mesothelioma, housework can easily fall by the wayside.

Our loved ones always come first, whether the laundry is piling up or not. Caregivers sometimes rely on the help of others to maintain their household duties. But if there’s none else to take over, hiring a professional housekeeper can be helpful.

There are many affordable options for caregivers who need assistance keeping their homes clean and comfortable for their loved ones.

Hiring someone you or a friend is familiar with is ideal because your personal safety and security is a top priority.

Talk to Friends and Family

Ask friends, family and members of your community if there is a housekeeping service or private housekeeper they can recommend. Hiring a friend of a friend or your neighbor’s housekeeper adds a bit of comfort and familiarity in allowing someone in your home.

Consider Professional Services

Many maid service companies guarantee their bonded employees. Having a service that verifies the safety and professionalism of their housekeepers is reassuring. It is important to research agencies before allowing anyone inside your home.

Free Housekeeping Services for Families Dealing with Cancer

For families balancing the costs of cancer care into the budget, hiring a housekeeper can seem out of reach.

I am not sure my family could afford private housekeeping services, but there are budget-friendly options in the cleaning service industry. Many housekeepers are willing to clean homes on an as-needed (or as-affordable) basis.

Other companies offer free cleaning services for families dealing with cancer.

Cleaning for a Reason, a nonprofit organization in the U.S. and Canada, provides maid services for women undergoing cancer treatment. ComforTree, another nonprofit for people with cancer, provides similar services using nontoxic methods and cleaning products.

If your loved one meets the necessary qualifications, your home might be professionally cleaned — free of charge.

Beginning Your Search for a Professional Housekeeper

The first item on the hiring agenda should be considering your family’s housekeeping needs.

Perhaps you only need help with major weekly cleaning tasks such as sweeping, mopping and cleaning bathrooms. Maybe your family has more pressing, daily housekeeping needs. Find a candidate who matches your needs.

I began my research at Care.com, an online marketplace for personal and household care needs. Launched in 2007, the company’s membership has grown to 22 million and the service is available in 19 countries.

Care.com connects families with job seekers interested in fulfilling care needs such as pet care, housekeeping, childcare and many others. Caregivers and their families can view candidate profiles, narrow their search and begin the interview process.

Interviewing Professional Housekeeping Candidates

The interview is a smooth process if families prepare a list of required duties, scheduling needs and characteristics of an ideal housekeeper for their family.

Phone or video interviews (Skype, FaceTime, etc.) might make the process even easier.

Care.com suggests families discuss the following with candidates:

  • Qualifications and Experience: Families need to know applicant’s experience in positions of trust and if they are capable of completing the tasks at hand.
  • Scheduling Issues: A housekeeper who is flexible to work around doctor appointments, cancer treatments and sensitive to the personal needs of your loved ones is a must.
  • References and Background Checks: I am sure “The Brady Bunch” parents never checked Alice’s background, but this is 2017. When we allow someone in our home, it is necessary to take precautionary measures to protect our families.

The process of hiring someone to clean your house might seem as hectic as balancing the roles of homemaker and caregiver. Take a deep breath, and remember it is okay to ask for help. Caring for a loved one with mesothelioma is an outstanding and selfless job.

Don’t worry if you don’t have time to sweep, mop, clean dishes or wash clothes. You’re already doing noble and compassionate work.

  1. American Society of Clinical Oncology. (2015, August 18). Balancing Work and Caregiving. Retrieved from http://www.cancer.net/blog/2015-08/balancing-work-and-caregiving

Melanie is currently pursuing a Master's degree at the University of the Cumberlands. She has a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of Phoenix. Her father was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 1992. She is dedicated to writing about her unique experience with the rare disease.

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