Tuesday, 20 December 2016

If I Get One More Plate on a Stand - I'll Scream!

All I Want for Christmas is...

Coming up with the perfect Christmas gift for the elderly rellies in our lives, can be quite the headache.  
Year after year we take the easy way out and fob poor old Mum off with another crystal serving dish or a posh pair of pewter candlesticks.  
How 'bout this year, we put a smile on her dial and give her the thing she REALLY wants?

Let's face it, an aging parent or grandparent already has more 'stuff' than you can shake a stick of holly at.  Their homes are filled with a lifetime worth of ornaments, mementos and nifty collectibles - all of varying worth and each one representing an important milestone or celebration of achievements.

And although we care, and we want to do our best for our housebound loved one, we still insist on fronting up on Christmas day and presenting them with yet another pricey piece of superbly-wrapped Royal Doulton or a fancy schmancy glass figurine (in a nice box).

Well, I'm sorry... BUT THAT'S JUST NOT TRYING!

Waiting in the queue at the post office recently, I managed to craftily listen in on two older ladies chatting in front of me.  Dolled-up beautifully in their red and green 'festive finest', it was a frank, but oddly inspiring convo; one that has given me a whole new angle on my gift-giving dangle this Christmas.

Ho-Ho-Hopefully, it might do the same for you!

"... and if they give me one more China plate on a stand - I'll scream!"

"Well, from my lot, it's flamin' smellies!  For goodness sake, my bathroom cupboard is chocker with perfumed soaps, bath salts and lotions galore.  If I lived to 150, I'd never use it all!"

"Oh, I knowwwww.  Course, it's the daughter-in-law I blame.  Feel like telling her, if you're gonna give me another pretty vase - at least come round and look at the thing with me!"

"And bring a big bunch of fresh gladdies to stick in it, while you're at it!."

"Yes, all very well dishing out the expensive crockery. All I want is a bit of company, a game of cards or just a good chin wag over a cuppa.  You know, something to break up the day?"

"Oh, yes... something to look forward to."

"My legs aren't going top hold out much longer... wish they'd get a wriggle on.  Typical post office."

"I thought your son was going to come and give you a hand?"

"Oh, I don't like to pester him.  He's so busy with the kids this time of year... and they've got a lot on.  I feel such a bother asking him to run me round."

"Nothing like being taken out in the car though, is there?  Honestly, going on a nice long drive would do me for Christmas - I'd be a pig in flamin' mud!"

"Oooo yes, stop off on the way... get afternoon tea somewhere..."

"Mmm fish 'n' chips on the beach?"


Taking elderly out for a drive
Giz  a chip, mate?

"You know, Maureen's daughter takes her to the pictures every Tuesday.  Half price, apparently.  Still, at least she gets an outing.  I'd swap that for one flamin' day of Christmas, in a flash!"

"Oh, I knowwww.  I'd love to go to that 'Carols in the Domain' thing this year.  You know, the sing-a-long in the park?"

"Oooo yes, love a good sing-a-long."

"But I can't do it on my own - I'm too wobbly!  I need Cheryl to take me but they've gone away up the lake for the holidays."

"Just give me a couple of bags of cat food... now that would save me a few bob.  I'd be fine with that.  Lucky and me could skip flamin' Christmas altogether then!"

"And you wouldn't have to find more space in the cabinet for another bunch of useless knick-knacks!"

"You know what we should do?  We should set up down the market... sell off all our prezzies to all the other suckers."

"Oooo yes!  Get Wilma to bring along the silver napkin rings and salt'n'pepper sets her family keep shoving on her..."

"... and Celia can wheel out all her ugly ceramic ducks - WE'D MAKE A FLAMIN' FORTUNE!"

At this stage the line started to move and the girls had trundled off for their turn with the teller. It was amusing to hear their candid thoughts on the crappy materialistic gifts of Christmas past.  But also a reality check, that maybe we could all put a bit more consideration into what we choose for our beloveds in the future.

Appreciating the little things, showing how much we enjoy their company.  Simply sharing a meal, or even just a good natter and a laugh over some boozy eggnog and a warm mince tart.

Bringing the kids round to decorate grandad's tree, or watching a funny movie together while you help write out great-aunt Betty's 2,387 Christmas cards.  Better still, turn the telly off and throw yourselves into a hearty game of Scrabble or Monopoly - if they can bear the arguments that is!

Remind yourself that your treasured elder won't be around forever; better to spend the time you have creating experiences and making sweet or silly memories you can all cherish.

Something money can never buy.

'Tis the season to say "Bah, humbug!" to spending big dollars on superfluous dust-collecting frippery for our elderly relatives this festive season!

Seriously, it couldn't be more easy flamin' peasy.

All your dear ol' Mum ever really wants for Christmas is...



Elderly gfits for Christmas
Quackity, Quack? 


Thursday, 17 November 2016

Tips for Transporting an Elderly Person in your Car

Driving Miss Daisy... to the Doctor

I have to say, providing Assisted Transport where I drive my elderly client to their doctor or specialist appointment is one of the snazzy little duties that as a Home & Community careworker, I really quite enjoy.  

I like driving.  I like chatting.  And I like helping people. 

What more could you ask for?  

Thankfully, most Seniors seem to view this opportunity for an outing rather favourably as well. Possibly because they get the guarantee of a trapped readily available audience during the drive - meaning a nice window of talk time where they get you, their eager-to-please driver, all to themselves.

So, as simple and as common sense as it sounds, I thought I’d compile a few helpful pointers to empower my fellow carers to transport their elderly clients in the most professional, yet thoughtful manner that they can muster.  One that's superbly stress-free and which will ultimately mean a minimum of anxiety to each of you.  

Not to mention eliminating all chance of something going wrong and it all ending in tears.  

Or worse.  Eeek!

Transporting Old People to Appointments
Who doesn't love a
nice drive?

Firstly, plan the trip BEFORE you get to your elderly client's home:

  • Decide the route you will take. Map it out, and decide the best way to go so you can avoid heavy traffic and/or pesky roadwork delays that may invite an already nervous Pensioner to start fretting

  • Investigate parking.  Is there easy access? Is the parking free?  Is there a Disabled carpark available?

  • Know in advance what your client’s needs are.  Are there inhibiting medical conditions? Do they need a wheeled walker? Does she prefer to sit in the back seat?

  • Clear out your car.  Make a comfy space for your elderly traveller to sit and feel special in. (Yes, that does mean getting rid of your son’s football, skateboard and last week's takeaway rubbish).

  • Be. On. Time. This is IMPERATIVE.  If you haven't worked it out by now, older adults get most titchy when it comes to appointment times.  In fact save yourself a whole lotta pain and be ridiculously early rather than cutting it fine.  Otherwise your entire trip will be tense and unpleasant - heaven help you if youy make your client arrive late!

    Quick story:
    I once had a client whom I used to drive every Monday afternoon to her physio appointment.  Mrs Daisy Diddleberry had broken her wrist and was now just getting her strength back with the help of a specialist.  She was only 68 years old but unbeknownst to me, Daisy also had early on-set Dementia. 

    And, horror of all horrors - she liked to try and leap out of the car at traffic lights! 


    As we drove along nearing her favourite bakery she’d bellow “they make the best fruit loaf here, Wendy!” and yank off her seatbelt while fumbling for the door handle.  This was before I’d stopped the car or even had a chance to pull over!  

    I soon learnt to distract Daisy whenever we reached certain shops or at the lights - as well as making dam sure I had the 'kiddie lock' on too.  

    All tricks of the trade to ensure everyone is kept safe and snug.
    And she could call me Wendy, Wilomena or WOMBAT for all I cared - just as long as she stayed out of mischief.

    Tips on getting elderly people INTO the car with a minimum of fuss:(Clue: it’s ALL about Safety)

    1.  Go to their front door to greet them and be ready to assist your elderly client as required

    2.  Check they have all their bits n bobs ie: Bag?  Specs? Brolly? Coat?  Key?  The key is a big one, obviously.

    3.  Confirm appointment time is correct and that you’re on target.  Tick.

    4.  Confirm location of the appointment.  Make sure you’re both on the same page.  Nothing worse than roaring off to the wrong doctor because your client hadn’t informed you they’d changed their GP or that he had moved consulting rooms.  More common than you'd think, this one.

    5.  Confirm if you are waiting for your client in the reception waiting area or if they’d like you to accompany them into the appointment

    6.  Get them to the car, installed comfortably (with handbag purched on lap) but INSIST on checking their seat belt is plugged in correctly - no matter how much they protest and tell you you're being silly. Once your Beloved is all strapped in (and usually champing at the bit for a good natter by this stage)... you can  put their walker or any other mobility paraphernalia into the boot knowing your charge is secured.  


    Tips for keeping your elderly client HAPPY in your car:

    • Just chat, be yourself, but be guided by them.  You want to put your client at ease and hope that they feel relaxed being in the car with you.  However, if they aren’t interested in talking then back off and don’t yabber on.

    • Throw in the odd compliment.  Or at least one.  FIND SOMETHING…nice coat, hat, pretty rose bush, they smell nice, lovely shoes etc.  Everyone loves a bit of flattery (even the biggest of grumps)

    • Let them talk about themselves - unless they show genuine interest in you. Seniors can get sick to the back teeth of their own company so your presence can be like a breath of fresh air to them.  Brace yourself!!!

    • Exaggerate your experience if need be, tell them you’ve done this hundreds of times and how much you enjoy it - but don’t disclose too much personal info about yourself.  

    • Remember your professional boundaries.  Doesn't matter how 'friendly' you become with your client, don't be tempted to give them your private phone or home address details.  It will bite you in the bum later - rest assured.

    • If you aren’t familiar with the area – ASK YOUR CLIENT!  They usually know it inside out, they’ve been coming to this doctor for 157 years and they will no doubt let you know this. If they give you directions then TAKE THEM. Don’t try and prove them wrong - it’s not about you being clever.

    • Don’t probe into their reason for going to the doctor. More than likely they will tell you anyway and most of the time it’s just routine check-up type stuff.  You’d like to think that if it was anything super serious or life-threatening, that the family would be driving them – not little ole you.

    Assisting elderly into your car
    Hat...coat... gloves.
    Don't forget your keys, Mr Tripalong!

    Tips on getting your elderly client OUT of the car with a minimum of fuss:(Again, it’s all about Safety)

    • Park as close as possible to the entrance of the clinic.  Do they have a special Disabled Permit for window display? (I love these babies - it means front row parking BRILLIANT)

    • Tell them the plan and explain what you intend to do to get them out.  Do they need help?  If so, get out and be poised ready for them before they struggle, get caught up in door handles or something goes horribly wrong.  If they have one, get the wheelie walker out waiting for them as you open their door

    • Assist to get your client onto the kerb SAFELY.  Don’t go grabbing their arm, remember they are still independent and should be quite capable.  Umm should be....

    • Be guided by them. Open the door to the clinic, but let them do all the talking to the staff.  Most receptionists are cluey enough to know why you have come along too, so just hover and be ready to leap in if your client needs you


    If you've had a good chat in the car then you will have most of these bases covered already.  
    Although having said that, there is a time and place for conversation with your clients.  

    You need to be aware of what their medical condition is and whether they have issues with speech.  
    Or possibly even with breathing.

    Another quick story:
    I once had a client who unfortunately, suffered acute Emphysema. I used to drive the alarmingly audibly breathless Mr Jim Wheezly to his hospital check-up once a month for various lung function tests and to monitor his swiftly deteriorating condition. 

    During our first initial outing however, I wisely opted NOT to talk to Jim more than was necessary, because it was obvious to me that he struggled to push out every single word. Suffering exhaustion with the mere physical process of hauling himself to the doctors, the last thing he needed was to expend valuable energy on idle chit chat along the way.

    Surprisingly, after our first near-silent journey together, and while I was helping him out of the car, he actually mustered up the strength to tell me how much he appreciated not having to waste his breath on the usual banter that most carers insisted on "putting him through". 

    And... <wheeze>... could he... <wheeze>... have me drive him again <gasp>... next time?

    So, yes.  
    Being aware, staying alert and taking responsibility.  I hate to sound like a patronising so-in-so...but it’s pretty similar to taking a toddler out in public: you’ve got to watch their every move!

    Just in case:
    a)  they fall and hurt themselves (that’s the biggie)

    b)  they wonder off and get lost (yes, it does happen although NOT ON MY WATCH!)

    c)  they become distressed and panic (elderly people hate to feel inadequate and that they are making a scene... and who doesn't?)

    d)  they need help with doors, ringing the bell, finding paperwork in their handbags etc (you don’t want your client to feel out of control and insecure and that they’re holding up the queue)

    e)  they drop their ice-cream on the floor and rub sticky fingers all over the nice doctor’s upholstery!  

    I’m kidding, of course.  

    Although I did once have an elderly gent somehow lose his half-sucked barley sugar in the waiting room of the Optometrists one day.  

    Believe it or not, had to chuckle, we found it at his appointment the following week... embedded in the crease of the very same chair he’d sat on the week before!

    True Story!!!

    Elderly people love Sweeties
    Sweet and sticky 


    Thursday, 10 November 2016

    Gordon Goes it Alone

    When Hoovering is no longer Wimmin's Work

    "Believe it or not, Dollie... but I'd never done housework.

    Not EVER.

    Val wouldn't let me.  In fact, the closest I've ever come to doing anything round the house... and rest assured I'm not proud of it, Dollie... was on the sofa, lifting my feet so she could hoover under me....terrible, huh?

    But that's how it was back then.  I was always at the shop; had my own watchmaking business... working hard and providing for Valerie and the kids for over 50 years.  Because that's what you did back then.

    None of this equal rights thing that we have now.  The wife stayed at home raising the kids and she did all the chores... the cooking and cleaning.

    While the men went to work.

    That's just how it was - and we never questioned it.

    For the most part, too, it worked.

    Of course now Val's gone, life's a lot different for me.  She went so suddenly, Dollie... never saw it coming.  So I've had to learn the hard way.  I mean, who else is gonna clean up?  The children have all moved far away so they're no use where they live.

    But that's ok, because it's about time I pulled finger and got on to looking after myself.  

    Got no choice now, that's for sure.

    Elderly men doing household chores
    Good job, Gordon.
    (you sexy apron-clad beast!)

    You know what?   Val would've been shocked to see what I got up to today, Dollie.  

    First time ever... I GOT THE MOP OUT!

    Funny thing, reckon I saw her urn shake, above the mantel there... the urn with her ashes in.  She'd have died of fright seeing me mopping the floors!

    Umm, well... she would if she hadn't died already that is - oh dear!

    Gee, I laughed out loud just thinking about her watching me thrashing about the kitchen, slopping water and soap suds everywhere.  Nearly tripped over the bucket about five times!  There's a bit of technique to be had, I realise now.  Ended up mopping myself right into a corner, didn't I!

    Ahh, well... you live 'n' learn.  

    Guess I didn't appreciate dear old Valerie when she was here.  And now she's not here, I understand how much she actually did round the place.  As well as bring up the kids - AND ME!  Kept it all together - and I can't have been an easy man to live with.

    Always tired.  
    Or in a bad mood.  Or working late... in hindsight, seems like I was always working.

    Oh, and I did the laundry for the first time in my life on the weekend, too.
    Me!  Gordon Toogood... DOING LAUNDRY!!!

    Of course the machine makes it pretty easy, I'm pleased to say.  Not even I could go too wrong.

    Was a whole different story when it came to folding the sheets though.  Bloody hell, those fitted sheets are arseholes, aren't they?  What's the trick with those things, Dollie?  I think I spent 20 minutes on one sheet!  And I wasn't proud of it either - looked like a dog's breakfast when I'd finished with it!

    Not to mention what happened with the dooner - GEEZ LOUISE!

    Jean from next door gave me a couple of pointers, but the whole thing was a disaster from go to whoa and I ended up literally INSIDE it trying to find the dam corners and get the bloody thing straightened up with it over my head!

    Have you ever got stuck inside a dooner, Dollie?  Trying to find my way out again - crikey, what a fuss.  Won't be washing that bloody thing again!

    I remember Val kept a beaudy of a linen cupboard, Dollie.  Everything in straight lines and piles of towels and sheets all stacked nice and neatly.  Like she'd done it with a ruler almost.

    Reckon if we opened the cupboard now... the whole lot would come crashing down!!!"

    Gordon Toogod, 89 years old
    - Wayward widower, watchmaker and wildberry wine connoisseur

    Old men helping with housework

    Definitely words to live by, Gordy


    Thursday, 3 November 2016

    Put on the Red Light, Rosanne!

    The Comings and Goings at No. 22

    "Oh, thank goodness it's only you, Dollie.  Well, what a day I've had!  

    Would you believe it?  It's been like a blimmen train station here today.  And heaven knows what the neighbours must be thinking!

    First I had a nice man, Derek, from the council come and do my Home Help.  Must've been 9 o'clock when he arrived because he was here quite early.  I usually have Sharon come at 10 o'clock... but I think she's away on holiday?  

    So instead Derek came, but he was lovely.

    And he did a good job... which I was worried about because it's never the same as when a woman cleans, you know?

    Anyway, so while Derek was here, I had my physiotherapy man, Gary arrive.  But he said he'd come back later because he could see Derek with the vacuum cleaner, hoovering away, making a racket.

    So Gary left.  

    And then just as Gary was going, blimmen heck, my son in law, Tony turns up to check the tap in the bathroom.  Stupid things been dripping it's head off and my hands aren't strong enough to twist it, so I can't turn it off properly.

    So I had Tony in the bathroom, Derek working away.... then blow me down, silly old Jim from the Bird Society pops by!  

    He likes to go through the minutes of our meetings before he prints the newsletter each month. To be honest, I think he just likes the company but that's ok because he's a nice enough chap and he doesn't stay long.  

    He smells like lavendar.... which is funny for a man, don't you think, Dollie?

    Then I laughed because just as I was waving that lot off, I had the physio, Gary, come back at the same time!  Talk about bedlam in the driveway... and it wasn't even lunchtime!

    Thank goodness Tony was here to sort them out with backing their cars down the drive... and making sure Jim didn't hit the fence. He's got terrible eyesight, Jim. I'm amazed they let him still drive.

    So while I had all this going on... I could just FEEL Shirley from across the road's curtains twitching away...  

    Oh, she was LOOKING alright!

    Then Gladys from next door came outside... pretending to check her letterbox for what must've been the third time she'd been out.  Having a good long sticky-beak she was...eyes nearly popping!

    I can see how they'd be wondering though... hee hee... I've never had so many men at my house at the one time.  And all in one hit!  Must've looked most unsavoury.

    Felt like I was in one of those windows in that street over in Amsterdam.  You know, in the red light district there where it's all legal.  

    Where the ladies all stand round waiting... WITH THEIR BITS OUT!

    Even my son in law Tony had a good laugh after they'd all gone:

    "Geez Rosie, I'm starting to wonder what you've got going on here... EXACTLY WHAT COLOUR IS THE LIGHT ON YOUR FRONT PORCH AGAIN?"

    - Mrs Rosanne Pimms, aged 88
    (Jam & Pickling specialist, Budgie breeder.. and recently-suspended member of the local Neighbourhood Watch group)

    Elderly people enjoying visitors
    "...walk the streets for money, you don't care if it's wrong or if it's right"

    Oh, it's all a bit of fun!


    Thursday, 27 October 2016

    Look, Roger.... I've Won $10 Million Dollars!


    I have to say, it’s mind-boggling just how clever and disgracefully sophisticated some of these scams against our cherished elders are nowadays. Especially when paperwork or official-looking documents are received in the post and you REALLY have to scrutinise them under a microscope to discover the hidden anomalies.

    But, as the saying goes:  If it's too good to be true - then it probably isn't.

    Here are some of the most common tactics used to exploit unsuspecting Seniors: 

    1.    Door-knocking Utility Servicemen.
    These suited-up devils magically appear and claim they are here to fix phone lines or adjust water or gas meters etc.  I had a client once who got approached by a so-called 'Telstra' employee claiming he had been sent to repair her supposedly damaged phone, and that she wouldn't be able to receive any calls until he had come inside her home and fixed it.

    Lo and behold, at the exact same time he was saying this, her ‘broken’ phone rang!  And perfectly timed, it was my client's daughter!  Needless to say, she told him where to go, that she was sending her husband round - and that if he ever went near her mother's house again she would report him to the police.

    It's a shame that it takes the presence of other family members (or the threat of a friend with large biceps) as the only way these creeps will leave our Beloveds alone.

    Reminds me of another client of mine who had the recording of a loud angrily barking Rottweiler built into her doorbell.  As you can imagine - it worked a treat!

    Or another favourite ploy of the faux repairman, is to rattle off a whole bunch of technical jargon in order to bamboozle elderly people into thinking they need something they don’t.  That the telly will circum-combustulate at any moment if the flux capacitor on their digital data T-box isn’t re-jiggered immediately!

    Crikey, if we don’t understand what that means, then how the blimmen heck is a desperately lonely and far-too-trusting 94 year old diabetic blind lady with only half a functioning kidney supposed to know?!

    Elderly being scammed by fake tradesmen
    Dodgy Dave strikes again?

    2.    Shifty Tradesmen.
    These sordid creatures seems to mysteriously crawl out of the woodwork after heavy rain or bad storms offering to repair or clear the damage that has (or mostly, hasn’t) been caused to an older adults home.

    The amusing thing here (read: suspicious), is that they turn up BEFORE YOU'VE EVEN RUNG THEM!

    Ah, yes…Scammers are very sharp at tailoring their dodgy deals to suit a particular client’s needs.

    Make sure your trusting Senior insists on seeing suitable identification from this random Bob-the-Builder or Percy-the-Plumber every time.  And under NO circumstance should they be paying cash up front before this so-called 'work' is completed.

    If in doubt, chuck 'em out!

    3.   Telemarketing Phone Calls.
    Don't know about you, but I can just about pick these annoying pests before I've even answered my phone!  Or maybe it's because of the hellish time of day they choose to call... ie: always at dinner time.


    We are informed that there are huge consequences for NOT buying their shiny new brand of life insurance/credit card/phone service.  And how dare we risk our family's future happiness by missing out on this ultimate 'one-time only' offer.

    Interesting though, how you get the same call a fortnight later?

    Then there's the calls from other random imposters promising fabulous deals, holidays or merchandise - a favourite angle for Scammers because they know older adults, as a rule, find it very difficult to say no.

    The fact that they are phoning from a call centre in down-town Manila is neither here nor there, is it?

    "Oh, she was such a nice sounding lady... and we had such a lovely chat"

    And anyway, it's rude to just hang-up on people.

    As opposed to the rest of us, who find the whole game is just not funny anymore and we feel perfectly justified saying (with our most sternest of voices) that we are “not interested thank you” and hitting the 'end call' button before these robots get a word in.

    Ahhh, it drives ya nuts.

    4.   Mail-Outs & Letters 
    Pensioners receiving personal mail that asks, ever so lovingly, for donations to obscure charities really rattle my cage.  Mainly because my elderly clients tend to pour over these (with all their spare time) and sadly, a lot of them fall for the nonsense they read in these fictional sob stories.

    Indeed, many of them think that sending little orphaned Arpoo who’s dying of malnutrition and malaria in the back streets of India, a cheque for $10 is ok because it’s only a small amount of money and even if it is a scam, it doesn’t really matter… does it?

    But just think…$10 from a thousand suckers people is $10,000 bucks!

    And it only takes one inadvertant response to just one of these arranged scams and before they know it, your Beloved can find themselves bombarded by an ongoing stream of similar requests... all asking for money, with even more gut-wrenchingly sadder-er-er sob stories attached.

    So keep an eye out for the elders in your lives, those whose letterboxes are constantly clogged with this type of rubbish – especially if it’s advising of a huge lottery win or post-marked Nigeria or Darkest Peru.

    Scams on Elderly People
    No, Mr Smith...
    They are not giving you $1million just for being nice!

    5.     Stocks & Shares, Investment Schemes
    And other mind-blowing offers from weird and wonderful sounding banks and financial institutions, are also alive and well in my elderly client's lounge rooms. These official-type documents can look deadly authentic and promise the victim recipient a huge return for only a minimum ‘up-front fee’ to lock in the deal while they supposedly get to just lie back and watch their dividends come rolling in.


    Human Beings,being that we are such a greedy lot, find this incentive particularly hard to resist because even though we know there's no such thing as a free lunch, the letter MUST be real because it has fancy writing and a swirly gold logo on it, right?

    Of course the situation is made even more perilous if the person responds by dishing out their bank account number or credit card details (in order to receive their unexpected, but extremely generous windfall).

    And you just don’t want to even think about that...


    Scammers, by their very nature, move steathily and leave little chance of ever being traced (ie: they give out made-up contact details or bogus business cards)


    Usually with a trail of destruction and misery in their wake, a lot of these scoundrels will get away with their crimes because distressed and embarrassed Retirees are loathe to take the matter further for fear of looking silly (goodbye dignity) to friends and family.

    Being exploited has left them feeling not only betrayed, but terrified because their security has also been compromised and they are now very weary of people in general – which is a shame because elderly people living alone, can verge on being socially isolated at the best of times.

    Possibly too, they have been scammed out of money required for more important things like their own much needed healthcare or medical expenses.

    Or worse, they can end up having their entire bank accounts wiped out (yes, it does happen) jeopardising their homes and the welfare of the family's inheritance for when after they’ve gone.  

    And just wait til the grandkids hear about that!


    Good Heavens, I Think the Plumber Stole My Purse!

    Beware the Scheming Scammer Scumbag

    If there’s one thing that really gives me the irrits as I support my elderly clients in their homes, it’s finding out about all the dirty rotten Scammers who make a living from deceiving and then stealing, from this innocent and vulnerable slice of the neighbourhood populace.

    And unfortunately, it’s more prevalent than we’d ever want to believe.

    So I thought I’d compile a few of my thoughts on these scamming scumbags (scummers?) and their reprehensible tactics, in the hope that it might make us all more aware in the future.

    And also because it just makes me so cross!

    Scams on the Elderly
    Shirley, the sweetest Scam-buster you'll ever meet!

    (From a Scammer's perspective)

    • Old people, after working all their lives, have got lots of spare money just sitting around idle in bank accounts or stuffed under mattresses, that they will never use.
    • Old people have nothing else to spend their money on because they’re OLD which means they can’t go out anywhere as they're too weak and feeble... plus they don’t have a social life anyway because all their friends are dead already.
    • Old people are easy to fool because they were born in an era when folk had faith in one another; the War was on and they were all in the same boat having to go without butter and nylon stockings, with only sawdust sausages and lumpy porridge (with bits in it) to eat.  Meaning... these deviants know exactly how to say all the right things to stir heart-strings and appeal to the good nature and emotional side of unsuspecting trust-filled older adults.
    • Non-English speaking Seniors are especially easy to rip off as they just nod and say yes to anything. The fact that they only partially understand what the Scammer is saying is still not as horrific as appearing stupid or risking being declared ‘un-Australian’.
    • Widowed elders living alone are easy to take advantage of because it was their deceased spouse who looked after the finances.  Being left to manage the bank accounts without instruction means they will just blindly write cheques willy-nilly for any Tom, Dick or Scam-artist.
    • Old people suffer extreme loneliness and so having a “nice man” chatting to them on the phone or at the front door is welcome relief in an otherwise long day of empty nothingness.  Some fraudsters can develop quite the relationship with their elderly targets before their ulterior motive rears its ugly head.  

    I know, truly despicable.


    These so-called 'people' are sleazy con-artists who sneak around suburbs, waiting and watching so they can latch onto unsuspecting older adults whom they discover are living alone and who are potentially far too trusting for their own good (indeed, the world has become a horrid place).

    Often these swindlers pose as tradesmen who roam about knocking on doors offering to clear overgrown gardens, re-surface driveways, fix Grannie’s roof tiles or whatever other maintenance work THEY deem is required.

    Scamming elderly with fake services
    Beware the dodgy no-name handyman...

    Scammers can also appear as random door-knocking Do-Gooders.  Seemingly representing legitimate sectors of the community, they present at people's front doors to collect donations for alleged charities or ‘worthy causes’. 

    Reminds me of the time my own grandmother got approached by an awful religious mob once.

    Three of them, all in smart suits, clutching Bibles under their wings and looking very church-like, showed up one morning on her front porch to tell her the error of her evil ways and how she could fix it.  And although she politely attempted to shut the door and say "thank you, but I'm not interested"... Mr Pushy swiftly slipped his foot into the crack, so she couldn’t close it.

    Poor Grandma!

    Basically, she had no choice but to 'invite' them in for tea and cake.  Whereby she got stuck for over an hour hearing their full spiel on why she should join their ranks - or at least hand over a mighty sum of money to save her from being sent to damnation for eternity.

    Thankfully, she managed to stay strong (although shaking inside, she admitted to us later) and they left frowny-faced and empty-handed.

    Makes you feel sick, doesn't it.

    It gave us a heck of a fright at the time too.  The obvious concern that something really nasty could've happened to Grandma, but also the thought that they might actually be imposters come to scope out her house for a burglary later.

    With so much to lose, you just can't be too cautious.

    So we immediately leapt into action by installing a security alarm and fixing a new deadlock thingy to her door so that if it happened again - which it did (these heartless weasels are relentless) then at least she would be safe.

    No more sticking anything into MY grandmother's crack again - much to their disappointment!

    Monsters, the lot of ‘em.


    Friday, 7 October 2016

    Old People are People, Too (Aren't They?)

    If it's good enough for Ghandi, then we should touch Grandma's feet too!

    I think it was Ghandi who once said that a nation's greatness is measured by how it treats its most vulnerable citizens.
    But then he would.
    Smug in the knowledge that his beloved India already boasted a fine track record in the unconditional caring of it's ageing population, he would have felt confident bandying about such bold and impassioned statements.
    In a country where taking care of one's elderly parents in order to preserve sacred family values is not only tradition, it's also considered integral to society as a whole.
    In fact, so great is the esteem and reverence bestowed upon India's elders, that youngsters are expected to literally bow down and touch the feet of their treasured grandparents, as the ultimate display of respect and adoration.
    Eeek! Feet?

    Respect for Elderly
    Touch us!
    Touch us!

    The Chinese too, stay loving and loyal to their older family members by keeping them close, trusting in their vast spiritual wisdom and believing that great fortune will follow them and their household, because they are doing so.
    Greeks and Italians also maintain endeared customs where elders demand intense respect from their offspring - including blessings that are sought from, and then held, in the highest of regard. With several generations of one family all co-habitating, co-parenting and co-cooking magnificent cultural feasts under the one, usually fairly large roof.
    All the time sharing and caring galore for beloved Nonnie and Poppa – it's just the way it is. And not once are the words Nursing Home or Aged-Care facility considered... nor even dared be mentioned.

    You look after your own and it's a beautiful thing.

    Becoming older and being elderly here in Australia however, is a whole nother story!
    Not that we don't care about the older adults in our lives (admittedly, there would be little chance of any feet-touching action)... and it's not that we don't WANT to look after dear old Ma and Pa when they can no longer manage on their own.
    But with our frantic materialistic lifestyles, we fair dinkum Aussies barely have time to look after our kids, let alone take on care and responsibility of 'the Olds' as well. Having to sometimes move away from our home towns to go where the money is (the hole for a new swimming pool won't dig itself, you know) we abandon our ageing parents as we strive for bigger and better.
    The once close-knit family dynamic is left in tatters and sadly, our children grow up with little or no interaction with their grandparents, nor have any understanding of the issues older people face existing in today's frenzied modern world.

    Elderly replaced by material wealth
    Pool-time Sillies
    (sorry, couldn't resist)

    Should we worry that our youth think it's acceptable to treat their elders in this dismissive and disparaging way?
    That our Seniors, because they are retired from the workforce and are just sitting about idle, don't have creditable opinions anymore and therefore no longer contribute to society?
    That they are just a burden on the community because they are old and doddery and dependant on others?
    Well, today... as I stood waiting in the cashier's queue of a large Electrical, IT & Furniture department store, I discovered all might not be totally lost.

    Amid the techno-bustle, I watched as a gentle looking elderly man with white hair and rosy cheeks walked tentatively into the shop... only to come to an abrupt halt.   I knew immediately what would surely be going through this dear chap's mind.

    Crikey... where do I start?”

    To be honest it was pretty similar to what I'd thought when I'd charged in earlier. Being one of these enormous retail outlets it's always daunting until you get your bearings, as well we know.
    Thankfully, when I'd arrived, I was greeted immediately by an efficient middle-aged-ish customer services lady labelled 'Brenda', who duly pointed me in the required direction thereby saving me from a lot of stressful aimless roaming about.
    Brenda however, was noticeably absent in coming to the aid of this gentleman. Still hovering in her official capacity at the entrance, directing customers, dispatching them off to the relevant departments... I watched as she quite literally favoured others coming in, over helping him!
    And STILL he stood there.
    Was she blind? How could she not see him?
    Surely she wasn't outright ignoring this lovely misplaced chap on purpose? For goodness sake... it was like he was The Invisible Man!

    Ok, so being that I work in the Aged-Care industry and that I'm used to attending to the whims of my elderly clients on a daily basis, you might argue that perhaps I am just overly-sensitive to this type of situation.
    Call it what you like, NEGLECT IS STILL NEGLECT!
    And regardless of his age, it was just wrong that anybody should be treated in such a blatantly disrespectful manner. Such a nice unassuming old bloke... on behalf of all the rotten Brendas out there, I felt utterly ashamed.

    Elderly being ignored in shops
    - An elderly peep's worst nightmare

    By this stage, too, the poor man was really getting jostled about. Customers were pushing past him with their large parcels and important busy lives. Finally, as I contemplated the ridiculous logistics of leap-frogging over the counter to go help the now visibly shaken Senior, low and behold...a slim young sales assistant guy appeared.
    I braced myself, dreading what awfulness might come from this young whipper-snapper's mouth.
    Would there be yet more disinterest, some degrading comments... in an equally degrading patronising tone?
    Or perhaps a reprimand for causing congestion on the shop floor?  Indeed, if Big Bad Brenda had trained him – we were doomed!

    Blow me down, 'Aaron' (as per his name badge), turned out to be the loveliest, most patient and caring young lad you could ever have wished for!  Upon touching the old boy gently on his arm so as not to give him a fright, Aaron tactfully drew him slowly away from the main thoroughfare and into the safety of the kitchen appliance aisle.
    Looking him right in the eye and talking directly to him, Aaron was giving this relieved Pensioner his fabulously full attention!  And after asking how 'Sir' was, suggested that he might like to sit down?
    Oh, it was just wonderful to see – I could have cried!
    And as I watched them chatting together and joking about last weekend's appalling football results... I felt my faith in humanity had been restored.
    On ya, Aaron! Perhaps there's hope for us yet! 

    Indeed, if Mahatma Ghandi had have been there in the shop buying a toaster today... I reckon he would've been very very chuffed.

    Old People are Paeople Too!

    So you're saying it's not all about ME then?