Two years ago I noticed my parents were beginning to struggle to look after their three bedroom house.The garden was the first thing to suffer, my father had always been so meticulous with his shrubs, borders and the shade of green he wanted the lawn it was slightly upsetting to see him have to let it all go. He told me that he had lost interest in the garden but we all knew that it was his knees that were letting him down, his slow and reluctant steps to the upstairs toilet were testament to this.
He would never admit as much however and we soon noticed it wasn’t just the garden he and mum had allegedly lost interest in. The three bedroom house was the house I grew up in with my sister, a wonderful house for a family but too large for a woman in her 70s to keep regularly vacuumed and dust free. It was all clearly becoming a chore and I would be lying if I said that I didn’t often worry about them both.
It took over six months to convince them to move in with my wife and I. We had just purchased a similarly oversized house but they still took a lot of convincing that they would not be in our way. Having seen my father struggle with the stairs I had a stairlift installed before they moved in, my father was visibly irritated that I had gone to such an effort when he was ‘perfectly capable of using the legs God provided him with!’
He even suggested at a later date that had I asked him he would have helped me assemble it. I didn’t tell him that they installed by trained professionals – even if the thought of a walking DIY nightmare such as him assembling a stairlift brought an involuntary smile to my face – and he was soon advocating the benefits of stairlifts to anyone who would listen. Sometimes your parents need you to show them the way.
Following the success of the stairlift, we invested in a set of long handled gardening tools that allowed him to set to work in the garden – weeding, cutting and even planting. He had clearly missed gardening. Other little things we’ve changed seem to have gone unnoticed such as the big buttoned telephone and TV remote control, safety kettle and panic cord in the bathroom.