Home Help & Self-Help

I’m fortunate to have a government “My Aged Care” level 1 package which helps finance my home cleaning and some personal exercise expenses. I have been having some home cleaning help on and off for over three years during the time I was caring for Dorothy at home. At that time, it was such a great help to have a lady come on three mornings each week to help Dorothy shower and dress and, once a week, to do some house cleaning, particularly to ensure the bathroom and kitchen were spotlessly clean. But, as well as for health and hygiene, those visits were of great social and psychological benefit. For the most part we had the same lady, and her cheery disposition was a bright spot in our otherwise somewhat stressful lives. For the past year since Dorothy has been in permanent care, I have a weekly visit by a cleaner for an hour to help me keep our village home spotless; that service ensures my rickety frame is able to avoid any risky physical jerks! That’s not to say I don’t try to keep my old frame in the best possible nick.

The exercise regime I mentioned above is held at the local Council-run gym and requires my attendance for an hour or more, twice weekly at present, plus continuing a series of workouts at home on the other days of the week. ‘Weak’ should be the appropriate word, both in resolving to actually do it, and how my aching body feels! As much as I am committed to do it, almost resolutely, my actions do not always speak louder than my words; shame upon me! Now, after that confession, I had better get back to those stretching exercises……

I also ride my bike as often as the weather permits, to visit Dorothy at her care home nearby. Unfortunately, for my physical well-being, my electric-boosted bike ‘broke down’. The bike repair shop said it could be weeks before they can find time to fix it (that’s how popular cycling is, these days!). My home help service doesn’t quite run to bike repairs! Oh, well, I like a challenge. And, I miss my bike – I want to keep using it as long as my balance and strength permit, so I was anxious to get it ‘on the road again’. I love the benefits of the fresh air, sunshine, the mild exercise and the thrill of just being able ride my bicycle! So, I decided to have a go at repairing it myself. It cost me about $20 for the ‘wheel-puller’ tool to remove the large cog wheel from the pedal shaft so that I could extract the 6cm hard-plastic broken actuating disk. Sourcing a replacement for the little broken disk became problematic as the later model of my bike uses a different electric system and would have meant further delays and a small wiring modification. Luckily, I have been able to hand-make a replacement disk and have been successful in re-assembling it all – and it works a treat. “Back on your bike, Bill”.

In a different sense, I am being a ‘Home helper’ tonight, as I baby-sit our two youngest grandchildren aged six and eight years. They are the two delightful girls of our daughter who is having a night out with her husband. Luckily, they live nearby, and I can easily be a home helper, myself, for them!