Karin wants the best for her fiercely independent parents, who are in their 90s. So it didn’t take long for her to notice that as health issues cropped up, her mum and dad weren’t able to maintain their house as well as in the past.
Karin, 61, and her sister jumped in to get the chores done, but that did not go down well with their parents.
“My sister and I were trying to do the housework on our visits but they’d try and distract us,” Karin says. “If Dad heard the vacuum cleaner, he’d tell us to put it away and come and have a cuppa and a chat instead.”
Karin knew the solution had to allow her mother and father to receive help at home, rather than being forced to leave their much-loved neighbourhood.
“It’s very important for Mum and Dad to stay in their own home,” she says. “They’ve been in that home for 30 or 40 years, had all the grandkids over there, so many beautiful get-togethers, and of course, the memories they have there and the community it’s in, lovely neighbours that check on them. They love to have a place for us to come to. They love the fact that the Christmas tree is in the same place it always is.”
Karin suggested home care as a solution for her parents, but they resisted at first.
“It took a little bit of encouraging to get them to accept help, because they figured they could do it themselves,” she says. “They’re proud people. I think it was hard for them to accept getting care because they’ve always been the do-ers. They’ve raised eight kids, 26 grandchildren and 28 great-grandchildren.
“But I said to Dad, ‘Well, I can have quality time now with you and Mum, we can sit and do things rather than me doing the cleaning – if you accept a little bit of help’.”
It took several months of reassurance to convince her parents to trial a home care service, but Karin says they now see the home care workers who visit each week to do the housework as helpful friends.
“They’ve accepted that it’s not about someone coming in and taking over, it’s just sharing the load,” she says.
As for her parents now, Karin says simply, “they feel wonderful and they’re proud to tell all their friends ‘you should get home care’”.