Pensioners Eddie and Mavis welcomed young professional Budkhuu (30) into their home thanks to agency that pairs up people in need of support
Eddie Lawless (80) began his search for a housemate last year when he made the decision to care for his wife, Mavis, at their home in Dublin. Mavis (78) was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2018 and had been living in a nursing home for a brief period before her family brought her back home.
The Clontarf couple have been married for 56 years and have four children together and eight grandchildren.
“Mavis was in a nursing home and she was fading away, she was down under eight stone,” Mr Lawless said. “She could not hack the nursing home.
“I remember sitting here, thinking, ‘I’d do a better job myself.’ My granddaughter came into the house and I told her and she said, ‘Granddad, let’s go and get her’, and within an hour and a half we had her home.
“When we pulled into the driveway, Mavis said, ‘Home sweet home’. She’s as happy as Larry.”
Mr Lawless started to explore different avenues and found The Home Share, a company that enables two people to share a home for mutual benefit. He explained that his wife “thrived when she was home, but I wasn’t able to do it all myself, so I started looking around and next thing I saw an ad for The Home Share and it sounded like some place to start.”
Typically, an older homeowner, in need of some company and a helping hand around the house will be matched with a young working professional who can provide that support.
Through the process, Mr and Mrs Lawless were matched with Budkhuu ‘Bud’ Buyantogtokh 18 months ago and “hit the jackpot”, Mr Lawless said. “I was just so lucky in the person I got.
“It lifted 10 tonnes off my shoulders because I was doing everything and this was all new to me. All these different things kept happening and, in my innocence, I thought it would pass and I just soldiered on and didn’t say anything to anyone.
“Bud fell out of heaven: she cooks my dinner every evening. She’s one of the family. Mavis absolutely loved having Bud in the house from the very first day. Mavis is so quiet and polite and all the carers just love her, she never complains or gives out, in fact she says very little.
“I was always a golfer and I now get every Wednesday and Friday off so I just disappear and play golf and have a few pints and come home.
“Bud is going back home now on January 18, and I have to start again. She’s been brilliant,” he said.
Budkhuu (30) is returning to Mongolia, but The Home Share already have another person lined up to move in with the Lawlesses.
“It’ll be a terrible wrench when Bud goes back,” Mr Lawless said. “She is terribly fond of Mavis I can see it in the way she looks after her.”
Mr Lawless has promised his wife that he will continue to care for her at home for as long as he can. “If you knew Mavis and the lively person she was – and just to see her now sitting in her wheelchair is terrible. Mavis was brilliant, funny, lively, generous.
“Mavis just doesn’t like nursing homes, so I’ve promised her I’ll keep her at home for as long as completely possible.”
Budkhuu came to Dublin in 2019 and began her studies with The Open College. She is a homecare worker and also works as a journalist in Mongolia.
“When Covid started I wanted a change of lifestyle and I wanted to learn the Irish culture,” Ms Buyantogtokh said.
“I wanted to learn the Irish culture and live with an Irish family.”
She contacted The Home Share and says of her experience of living with the Lawlesses, “We started to live together and it was great. I was very happy living with them. I just really think they’re just like my grandparents.
“I will miss them but Mavis is in the right place and Eddie is great. Mavis is very lucky she has a very good family.”