At the time Mary was still working as a nurse at the county hospital in Winchester but realised that her mother was finding life more difficult and the stairs were becoming a challenge so suggested that a stairlift would be a good idea. Her mother agreed and the stairlift became integral in allowing her to remain in her own home. Mary moved in with her and looked after her until she passed away at the age of 96 in 2007.
23 years after it was installed, Mary is still living her mother’s house which she has lovingly cared for. The stairlift was even removed for a day in 2003 to allow a new stair carpet to be laid. The house is still immaculately neat and tidy and the stairlift looks brand new.
Now in her early 80s Mary has an incredibly full life. Not content with having a husband, six children and 10 grandchildren and working part time, she volunteers for the local branch of the National Osteoporosis Society. It’s something she started doing whilst still working at the hospital, regularly helping at events in her region and hosting committee meetings in her home. On the day we visited, the committee were just leaving, the Stannah engineer was finishing his service of the stairlift and a photographer had arrived to take pictures of Mary with it. She said she would have a rest after lunch as that evening she would be on her regular night shift at a local care home where she is still employed as a registered nurse. In addition, she does the shopping for an elderly neighbour who is in her 90s but there is still time to occasionally enjoy one of her hobbies – ballroom dancing, for which she has a number of medals.
Far from slowing her down, the stairlift is key to maintaining her independence. Mary is scheduled to have a knee operation in the next couple of months and knows that her lift will be invaluable in helping her through her rehabilitation afterwards. She wants to be fully recovered before visiting one of her daughters in Australia next year. She may not need it all the time but often, at the end of one her very busy days, it is there to take the strain when she needs to go up the stairs to bed. She sees it as just another household appliance.
As an example of someone using a stairlift to allow her to have a busier life than many people half her age, Mary is second to none.