Ten reasons why Jørgen chose a user-controlled personal assistant support scheme
- I get to choose my own personal assistant.
- I decide how my assistants work (within a set shift plan).
- I plan my activities at the times that suit me.
- I believe that a one-to-one relationship between a user and assistant creates a stable arrangement where the assistant feels immense responsibility and is aware of how an unstable arrangement affects the user.
- I am more responsible for my own health than I would have been if I had, for example, qualified health personnel in my home. The personal assistants are my arms and legs. They do not set the rules for how I should be taking care of my body and health.
- I do not always need to plan everything I will be doing down to the smallest detail - there is also room for some healthy spontaneaity. For example, if I want to meet someone in the centre of town for a coffee, I can.
- I am the one who creates job descriptions for assistants to follow. I decide what the assistants are going to help me with.
- I have less people to relate to. This leads to less training, a more personal relationship with helpers and I feel more comfortable with regard to hygiene and personal boundaries.
- I feel safer when I’m in control of management.
- One gains good experience from administrating one’s own support scheme. Being the manager of one’s own staff boosts one’s self-esteem and provides a sense of mastery. I have learnt a lot about myself and other people through my experiences as a manager.
Of course, I have to stay within acceptable frameworks with regard to what and when I can do things. I have to set up work plans in accordance with the Norwegian Working Environment Act. There are always situations in which the manager can come into conflict with an assistant. It is not always very comfortable when you need the help of an assistant with whom you have an ongoing conflict.
Even though, I consider this scheme ideal for me, it is important to consider the responsibility that lies behind the management of one’s own support scheme. I will gladly admit that in periods I wish that someone could just take over and relieve me of all my worries. For example, in connection with getting personnel when someone is ill, planning holiday temps, the employment of new assistants and following up training, etc. It can be stressful at times. Although, as mentioned earlier, it is reassuring for me to know what will be happening rather than worrying about things I do not know