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HORIZON BLOG

Dad Needs Help With His Yard

Question

Spring is here now, and my Dad’s yard needs to be taken care of, just like my own.  Dad is 89 and yard work is very difficult for him, though he is not willing to admit it. So, I go over on Saturday and cut the grass. The beds are a bit of a mess and truth be told; I ignore them. Frankly, I do not really have anymore time to put into it.

Dad has a mowed lawn, but the yard looks a bit shabby, because I am not attending to the flowers, mulching, and weeding. I do not do those things at my own house. The wife takes care of the finer details around the house.  

Dad is quite resistant to paying someone to do anything. When he gets on his knees to weed, well, he cannot really get up very well. Shrubs need pruning and beds need weeding and there is really no one to do it. I have two siblings, but they do nothing to help. We need solutions.

- Reader

Answer

Spring indeed has arrived, and we are all out there sprucing up our yards. It is no surprise that an 89-year-old cannot tend to his beds like they need to be managed. It is rather physical to prune, pull weeds, edge, plan, etc. One must be able to get to their knees and get up again unaided. There is also the range of motion needed to do the pruning, bagging, pulling, and pushing required to landscape.  

Indeed, his home has likely lost most of its curb appeal if all you are doing is cutting the grass.  As you know, it takes a bit more to give a home that welcoming touch.  

Your Dad is not alone in his reluctance to pay someone to do something that he or his wife used to do themselves. I am certain that he can see what the lack of attention looks like, and he likely does intend to work on it. I am certain that he is grateful that you are cutting the grass for him, so his yard does not look like a shambles.

Since he has such reluctance to paying for it to be done, I would give an annual shout out to the “do nothing” siblings of yours. Unless your father’s yard is massive, a spruce up could be done in a day if everyone came to his home for four hours. You could invite your siblings over for just one-half day, tell them to bring the kids and a few tools. It could be a Father’s Day gift to your Dad. It will require some subtle pressure on your part, but who really cares. You’re trying to solve a problem. 

Let your siblings know that Dad is too proud to ask for their help, though he really needs it. Be honest about your capacity to do more. Sometimes siblings just need to be told the truth. You could even mention that it will use far more of his assets to live somewhere else than in a paid for home, (assuming he is mortgage free).  

As a last resort, if the sibling option fails, you could have a conversation with Dad about the house being just too much to manage.  

I would get an estimate on a yard cleanup service for him as a backup. Maybe if the siblings will not do the work, they will chip in to gift it to your father.

I wish you well on this journey with Dad and siblings.

 

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