Julie Symcox, co-founder of AHM Installations, tells us how life has changed – both for her and her 91-year-old father, Ray – during lockdown.
I don’t like to see anyone struggle. I’ve worked as a nanny and nurse, in residential care homes and as a Samaritan. We now run an accessible bathrooms business.
We’re lucky to live next door to my 91-year-old father, Ray. We’ve always been a close family but Dad and I became closer when Mum sadly passed away in 2013.
I was worried the pandemic would leave Dad feeling isolated as he lives on his own. But luckily we’ve been able to ‘bubble up’ – so we see each other every day and he helps to look after our dog, Bobby.
We talked about how Dad has found the pandemic, and like the rest of us there have been ups and downs:
“When the pandemic started, the first few weeks were alright,” Dad said. “It was so quiet; you could hear the sound of birds. It felt very restful.
“I’ve kept busy around the house and garden. I’m head cook and bottle washer so I don’t have any spare time! I do miss some things though,” he admitted. “I miss the weekly luncheon club at the village hall. I haven’t seen friends since March. And I miss going to the pub on a Friday.”
Very sadly my Auntie Dorothy – Dad’s 96-year-old sister – died this year and Dad couldn’t visit her while she was in hospital or go to the funeral. “That wasn’t very nice,” he said.
My brother Rob and I took it in turns to get Dad’s food shopping. Then in mid-December Dad and I decided to go to Aldi together for the first time.
“That was the first time I’d gone out of the village,” he said. “The family have helped so I’ve not gone without, but I do miss it. And I miss driving. I’ve not driven because I’ve not needed to, and I worry about getting back into it.”
We talked about the future. “I hope the vaccination becomes more available, quickly,” he said. “It would be nice to get out and about more.”
Dad is lucky to have close family around him, but I know that lots of people aren’t so lucky and they struggle at home with everyday tasks. My heart goes out to them. The pandemic has made it harder in lots of ways.
My husband Simon and I set up AHM Installations 20 years ago because we know that small changes can make a big difference to people’s comfort and independence in their own home. We know how to make people’s bathrooms safer at a cost they can afford.
People call us just to ask for advice. We will always do our best to find a solution, whatever the budget. Please feel free to call our family-run team 0800 731 6495. We also offer discounts for military veterans and for those with dementia.