Posted by Naomi Finch at 18/09/2012 15:19:59
Have you ever tried putting on a blindfold and ear protectors and spending an hour in your own home without your eyes and ears? You think you know where your furniture is, but I promise, if you have a go, you’ll walk into the first thing you try to avoid and you won’t be able to find that every day item that you need. Gramps is always telling me how frustrating it is to have little sight and how, added to his poor hearing, it really disables him.
In his flat where he’s lived for 30 years, everything has its place; I never really appreciated the importance of this until I started fully caring for him. Now, I don’t want to give you men a bad name, but it’s in my experience that blokes are not usually blessed with the cleaning gene. My gramps is no exception and his poor sight has made this even worse. He doesn’t see the dust, he can’t see the bits on the carpet and the crumbs in the kitchen could have fed a family of mice!
So, I recently set to and gave him a good spring clean. On my next visit I was in big trouble, let me tell you. He was really cross with me. I’d inadvertently moved things; thrown things out that I thought were rubbish and put things away in the wrong place.
“Where is my washing up cloth? Where have you put that bit of plastic I keep by the sink to scrape my plates with? Where is the tub with all the bits of soap in from the bathroom? Where is my brown cardigan?” He asked me.
“Bin, bin, bin and wardrobe” was the answer, which I told him slightly more diplomatically. He accepted that he needed a new wash up cloth, due to germs. But he couldn’t believe I thrown away all the ends of the soap bars because “you never know when you might need them”. What for I just can’t imagine. He also moved the cardigan back to the chair it had been hanging from. He never wore it, so why it needed to hang on the chair was a mystery to me! But he was most cross about the bit of plastic and I was tasked to find him a new one.
The worse thing for me was just not realising the impact of my actions. My good deed actually caused him stress, he couldn’t find things, he’d knocked things over because they weren’t in their usual place. And so, the next time I got the vac out, he followed me round making sure everything went back to just where he wanted it.
I learned my lesson. Now, on cleaning days, I keep him involved by telling him what I’m doing and always asking him about anything I’m unsure of. I also learned that if I give a valid reason for wanting to throw something away he is ok about it (eventually).
But as usual Gramps always has the last word. After I’d finished a ‘deep clean’ that took me almost all day he said “Thank you for all your help, but to be honest it doesn’t look any different to me”!
Oh and to solve the bit of plastic problem I cut a square from a plastic milk carton, and unbeknown to him, I give him a new one every week!