Thursday, 15 June 2017

Happy WEAAD-Day, To You!

Despicable, Unfathomable... is it really going on?

Here's the thing.

Not only was I not aware that June 15th was official World Elder Abuse Awareness Day - but to my shame,  I absolutely (ruly truuuly) had no idea it was even a thing.   

Which considering I have been employed in the aged-are industry for many years now - is quite dreadful really.  I mean, what was I doing on WEAAD day last year?

So as I waltzed into work this morning, it was a surprise to me when I was duly presented with a purple ribbon to pin most purposefully onto my shirt front.  I was then directed to a row of purple posters dotted about on the walls which, as well as ordering me to END ELDER ABUSE - also contained info I might need to "learn up, in case a client asks you about it".  

Still slightly in surprise mode, I then pondered how it really is a sad state of affairs when the United Nations has to officially acknowledge that we now actually need an internationally recognised day of awareness for Elder Abuse.  

Purple ribbon against Elder Abuse
Get your PURPLE on!

And so I perused the purple posters to get the stats.

Did you know... that around 6% of all people over age 60 will cop some form of abuse in their lives?  

If you add that up, that's about 60 million people world wide (according to the purple poster) which to me, sounds like a hugely horrendous amount of older people having a bloody bad time with dreadful things being done to them.

AND... (according to said purple poster), that by 2050 the number of elderly people over age 65 in Australia will have doubled - which means elder abuse will escalate by twice as much also. 

Doubled?  Surely not!

AND... Were you also aware that elder abuse doesn't just mean the obvious physical attacks on dear little old granny.  Ah no!

People can badly mistreat older family members in emotional and psychological ways too.  Not to mention another biggie (and also the theme of this year's WEAAD day): Financial Exploitation.

Typical health issues related to ageing such as Alzheimer's or Dementia, can mean older adults are easy prey to a so-called 'caregiver' with alterior motives.  Thanks to cognitive decline and a decrease in capacity to understand or control one's own personal affairs, bank accounts, insurance papers etc, the need to rely on others becomes more demanding.

Unfortunately, so too, is  the increase in tempatation for family members to craftily 'adjust' offiicial documents for self-serving purposes.

Horrific to think that a trusted son, daughter, grandchild or step-nephew-twice-removed could sink so low as to take such blatant advantage of a frail older loved one.

Neglect is another form of abuse that's also hidden within families and can be ultra tricky to detect because victims are loathe to report mistreatment due to shame or embarrassment.  But these forms of abuse are all a violation of basic Human Rights and quite frankly, bloody disgraceful!

As carers visiting clients in their own homes, there are warning signs the purple poster tells us we should watch out for in our clients and their behaviours... as well as any related physical concerns (heaven forbid) we may observe.

Things such as:
  • Bruises, burns or other new marks on the skin
  • Changes in general physical appearance: weight loss, lethargy, weakness
  • Unexplained actions such as clumsiness or forgetfulness
  • Being unusually quiet or withdrawn, or appearing more socially isolated from family or friends than usual
  • Depression, confusion or fear of being alone with a certain family member 

My experience with 'abused' elderly peeps is fairly limited I have to say.  I haven't knowingly encountered anything untoward on my daily travels where I have had cause for concern for my client's welfare.

Or have I just not noticed it? 

It worries me now, even after all this time that I could be oblivious to the various forms of elder abuse. Perhaps there's been awful things happening to my clients right under my nose?

The bruises I noticed on the lovely Mrs Wotsit's arm during her shower last week...Were they the result of being 'put in her place' by her son with anger management issues and a nasty drinking problem?

Or the time poor old Mr Thingamebob tells me he's a silly duffer after falling flat on his face from tripping on the kitchen lino... Had he been beaten by a nephew of dubious origins wanting money (and the car) in a hurry?

Or hearing Mrs Saynomore tell me that she intended to stay in her house forever and that "they'll have to take me out in a box"...  Yet discovering her home advertised in the 'For Sale' column of the local paper thanks to an impatient grandson with a filthy gambling habit.


Although it appears now - we must.

Which reminds me of an incident once... visiting a client with slow-onset Dementia still living in the family home and whose dazzling glass china cabinets strangely became more and more depleted of their expensive contents over a period of several months.

Apparently there was an attempt at an inquiry when the neighbour caught on and made noises to the authorities.  But it all fell flat due to the woman's absentmindedness and failing memory.  Her three beloved sons 'borrowing' stuff from their mother somehow got classed as 'looking after mum's assets' instead.

And it all became null and void once the woman relocated into a nursing home. 


Abuse against older people

Get mad like Mickey! 

I can report that none of my clients noticed the pretty purple WEAAD ribbon I wore during my visits today.  Or if they did, they chose not to say anything about it.  

I, too, didn't feel the need (or have the time) to start prattling on and drawing attention to the  once taboo topic of Elder Abuse.  

Not because I didn't want to talk about it... perhaps it's more that I'm still in denial that anyone could sink so low as to take advantage of their innocent, frail and vulnerable rellies in such a cruel and heartless way.

Similar to abuse of children really. And we all know how we feel about THAT!

Maybe that's the problem right there.
Perhaps we are all too busy NOT talking about it... you know?

Pesky purple posters - it's all their fault.


Stop abuse on elders

Go pick on someone your own age!! 

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

When Old Dogs Learn New Cooking Tricks


What the Bloody Hell is a Pomegranate?

I've been having some interesting discussions with my elderly clients lately - and it's all about FOOD.

In particular, are the seniors who've realised it's getting harder and harder to ignore the presence of all the bizzare, ugly-shaped fruit & veg on display at the supermarkets at the moment.  

With elbow-controlled shopping trolleys, they drift furtively by... but with no idea what these new species are, what they 'do' or how to even peel one, there's little chance they'll be cooking with them any time soon.  If I had to do the stats... I'd say it would be kale, pomegranates, avocados (the smashing of) and the phenomena known as "keen-wah" which appear to be causing the most angst among my Over 70's mob. 

Advised by their GPs or concerned family members (and splashed all over the lifestyle mags)... that these weird but wonderful so-called 'Superfoods' are *blueberry jam-packed full of disease-fighting nutrients. And that by consuming these natural beauties, elders decrease their chances of developing a chronic illness, rehabilitate faster if they do, and subsequently, increase their chances of living forever:  WIN-WIN-WIN!

*Blueberries = a big Superfood player (but at least we already know 'em)

Elderly learning how to cook mod food
Hope you Avo nice day!

Which got me thinking that it's not just Technology that an older adult is pressured to come to grips with in today's frantically progressive world.

It's also what we EAT.

Having grown up in a time where food wasn't the obsession that it is now, it's understandable why the mature-ager might find some of the latest meal trends confusing and intimidating. People are living for longer that's true, but it's a scientific fact that age-related health issues such as Diabetes, stroke or heart disease (that would have once killed you in your 60's) are now being managed more efficiently, purely by what we stick in our mouths.

Unfortunately along the way, food over-sensitivity, allergies and intolerances have become almost commonplace and it's been a huge learning curve for many 'old-school' folk to not only embrace the modern ideals toward the food they eat, but to accept that their own health may be in jeopardy if they don't.

Noticeable too, are the peculiar codes added to the menus of our favourite restaurants which offer the diner-outer all sorts of solutions to their dietary dilemmas.   Shown as GF, LF or V for example, they tend to baffle those who may be too afraid to ask and so it's easier just to ignore them.  

No such thing as a Nut Allergy when we were kids. Oh, except when I first met my Douggie at the school dance – he was nutty alright!”

How can being a Vegetarian be good for you? Eating too many greens... GIVES ME THE SQUIRTS!”

Special Dietary Requirement? That's me making sure I have a wine with dinner!”

Not sure about this 'organic food' my day, it was just called FOOD”

Gluten-free, you say. So, I have to eat less glutes?!?!”

Not to mention all the latest cookbooks. encouraging us to replace the tried-and-true ingredients of our classic recipes - with slinkier, healthier alternatives. Gone are the days where a chook is bunged into the oven in a layer of lard or has a wheelbarrow load of salt tipped over it to enhance flavour! 

Instead, poor old mum, has had to climb out of her lifelong culinary comfort zone to produce broccoli from a steamer (rather than boiling the be-jeezus out of it like she's always done). 

No longer can she fry meat in a pan as she did in ye days of olde either. Ah no!  It must be grilled delicately on both sides and then dabbed at repeatedly with a roll of triple-ply paper towels to ensure every last dot of oil has been safely extracted.

She then has to learn to shop and chop, great sprigfuls of fresh herbs, fancy-schmancy spices and hearty wholesome marinades (please, no additives!), in the quest to present modern adaptations of traditional feasts to her fussy grown up family.  

Which can be blimmen hard work when Grannie has a dicky knee, arthritic hands and poor eyesight!

But I do find it hugely inspiring when my brave clients at least give it a go! Embracing their new 'foodie' adventure and taking an active interest in maintaining their own health with the exotic, albeit freaky-looking food choices they can now make.  And even more impressively - is the trendy cooking techniques they've learnt to cook the stuff!

One of my clients, for example, 89 year old Bert is a lovely chap who nearly fell to bits after his wife died recently. However, he pulled himself up by his apron strings and found new vigour in teaching himself how to bake bread in a breadmaker he found at the back of 'the wife's' pantry. 

Whenever I visit Herb now, I always make time for a compulsory munch on a slice of his latest creation (which he's as proud as punch to share over a cuppa and a yak). None of your boring bready rubbish either - last week it was pumpkin seed & honey oat with cranberry chunks. Delish!

Elderly learning to cook modern ingredients

Love ya work, Bert!

It's funny though, I find the biggest motivator for the my elderly clients to climb aboard the Superfood bandwagon and include more fresh raw ingredients in their diet, is the theory that it lessens the chances of them developing Alzheimer's disease.  Whether that's true or only slightly true-ish... it seems my Beloveds are more willing to fight for the health of their brains over maintaing the physical strength of their battered bods!

Indeed, it turns out that you can teach a dog of more advanced years new tricks... it merely depends on whether the dog in question is willing (and open-minded enough), to give the tricks a crack.

We all feel nervous when it comes to trying new things – there's that fear of failure, feeling unsafe and exposed. Or the big one... looking silly to others. And with older generation, it's understandable to have the mindset that they've made it through all the obstacles of life; they've come through the war living on sausage meat and sawdust.  They've already done all the learning required for survival so "there's nothing more I need to know, thank you very much!"  

A perspective that sadly means their ability to grow by learning new tricks, gets lost in the despair and gloominess of 'being old'.  Sitting in a chair with a rug over their knees is now all they can cope with.

Which, thankfully, is NOT the case for Bert and his Breadmaster 2000.  He informs me his latest project is a Wholemeal Caramel, Apple & Quinoa Pecan loaf.  And just for fun, it's also going to involve (winkity, wink)...A RUM SWIRL.

What's a girl to do?  

Roll on next Tuesday!

Cheers (and crazy happy healthy eating to you!)

old people new food

Arrrrgh me hearties, it's a fact

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Yes, THAT Alzheimer's Poem

Leaving our Loved Ones "Sad and Sick...and Lost"

Every time I visit 82 year old Ruth Cuddlepot I read this poem. 

She has it up on a wall of her home, just above the toaster, on the kitchen bench.  I know it by heart now because it's so hard to miss and I stand there every Wednesday reading it (at least three times over) - while I'm waiting for her crumpets to pop!  

It's a short, but popular verse and most of us carers have encountered it on our travels in and around the Aged-Care industry. To be honest, I always feel annoyed whenever I read it because as far as desribing the hopelessness and grim reality of Alzheimer's disease - it's pretty spot on.

It's also quite sad.

Elderly and Alzheimer's

We all know this one, right? 

The story goes, that back in her day, Ruth Cuddlepot had an outstanding career as a principal in some hoity-toity private school for boys (at the time the youngest female to obtain such a role).  She never married, didn't have children and had no real family to speak of.  Therefore she had bucket-loads of money tucked away ready to spend totally on herself, whenever she needed it. 

That day came a few years back when Ruth received the official crushing diagnosis of Alzheimer's Disease.  Being such an insightful person however, she decided early on that she would set herself up for when the time came, when she could no longer work or take care of herself.  

Indeed, there would be NO nursing home for Ms Ruth Cuddlepot! 

Instead, she arranged her affairs and teed-up the lawyers so she could be completely looked after and cared for in her OWN home - no matter what.  She knew her condition would deteriorate; that her memory would crumble and she would eventually "lose my marbles completely!"  Apparently that's how Ruth used to say it although I didn't know her then and have relied on verbal reports from other carers to fill me in on all her background reading. 

Needless to say, she was a very clever lady. Although, by the time I had the pleasure of caring for Ruth Cuddlepot she was no longer the organised and efficient educator I had been told she once was. 

Ruth had instead evolved into 'Ruthie'.  

And thanks to the personality-morphing Alzhemimer's, Ruthie had become a frail, but openly happy and affectionate elderly woman.... WHO LOVED TO HUG! 

Even when her speech faltered, Ruthie could at least continue to communicate with a nice big fat welcoming embrace whenever I arrived for my shift.  I looked forward to it in fact!  

There she would be, sitting at her favourite spot on a chair in the sun at her enormous loungeroom windows... the spot where she had the perfect view of her garden and a watchful eye on the next visitor she could throw her arms around and give a great big squeeeeze to!  

Really if it wasn't so heart-breaking, it would be lovely.

Alzheimers disease in the elderly
Ruthie's window...
 - waiting for her next hug-ee!

Recently though, Ruthie had started calling me Wendy!  

Which is fine by me because you can imagine it happens a lot in this line of work (I'm also known as Debbie, Louise and Margie with some of my other cognitively-challenged clients).  Remembering each carer's name, rank and serial number is understandably not high on the priority list for some Seniors - especially when they no longer know their OWN name!

I knew something had started to change in Ruthie when one day - the hugs stopped.  Another cruel stage of the Alzheimer's curse... Ruthie Cuddlepot started to become aggressive.

Without much warning her moods were up and down and she couldnt stand being touched.  Not even a hand shake or a gentle pat on the shoulder.  You just wouldn't dare in case she would flare up and start screaming and punching the wall in what looked like the ultimate frustration within Ruthie's mixed up mind. 

This most heartless and indiscriminate disease had finally taken hold of her ... it has been just awful to watch.

Finally, after accusations that Ruthie had started slapping and pushing her carer's, we were told last week that she had to be whisked away by ambulance and sedated in hospital.  Quite honestly, it looked to me that they just didnt know WHAT to do with her!  

After all Ruth's organising, having purposely prepared herself and her future to remain forever being tended to at home by an army of paid care-working bees - it now seemed this was no longer a viable option.  

I wonder now looking back, how Ruthie could have possibly planned for this part of her illness?

Perhaps she'd anticipated that by this late phase: 1) she wouldn't know where she lived, and 2) she wouldn't care?

I hoped so for her sake.

The poem was right and the best of Ruth had gone. 

Yes, we had failed in standing beside her.  Basically, it had become too unsafe to do so!  Poor Ruthie had become a danger not only to herself, but to everyone else as well.  And if a support worker is under any threat whilst looking after an elderly client in their home, then the people in charge needed to move to plan B.  

I was informed only today that the once proud and brilliant Ruth Cuddlepot had been relocated 'indefinitely' into a High Care facility.  Just like the poem had foretold: she was now sad and sick and lost.  Her beautiful forward-thinking brain now full to the brim on medication to keep her comatose and manageable (for the staff's own protection, we were told).

I have deliberated about going to visit Ruthie but honestly, what would be the point? And I know it sounds completely selfish but I don't think I could bear it.  

The worse part is finding out she doesn't even have a window.


Monday, 17 April 2017

When is 'The End of the Road' for Older Drivers?

Make Way, Kids... Bernice is Comin' Through!!

Being rather topical at the moment, there's a lot to be said about older adults and driving and whether or not they should even BE behind the wheel 'at their age'.

Just about anyone you ask has their own take on this subject, along with plenty of reasons (and possibly a good road rage incident or three) to justify their particular view.

In my opinion (such as it is), I feel we are each so distinctly individual and therefore a person's driving abilities, their physical condition (eyesight, reflexes, medical issues, sanity(!) etc) should all be taken into consideration and then judged in their own right.

Or in some cases - NOT right.

Let's face it, some people should NEVER be let loose on the roads regardless of what their age might be!  To be honest, I have a couple of my own friends still in their 40's, whom I could easily slot into this category (knuckle-clenching is the best word I would use to describe a trip in the car with these clowns).

Having said all that, there does seem to be a noticeable wave of Senior drivers accidentally landing their cars into the front rooms of innocent people's homes recently.  In fact every other week we turn on the telly and get told about the latest dear old biddy who has, for whatever reason, become confused and ploughed her 1987 Toyota Corolla into a toddler's bedroom or a schoolyard full of children.

We cross our fingers that no one was injured (or worse).  Followed then by a rolling of our eyes as we make rash generalised statements that anyone of such advanced years (over 70?... over 80?... older?) should be made to sit a special test to prove themselves drive-worthy.


Arguably, the next news item is then horrific footage showing some hoon 20-something, showing off to his girlfriend, horrendously breaking the speed limit, high on some illegal substance - WHATEVER.  But it's resulted in him wrapping himself and his car around a pole, and wiping out the electricity supply across four suburbs

More significantly, and so painfully heart-wrenching, is the mother and six children coming the opposite way, who are killed instantly in their family staton wagon, 

Both scenarios are shocking and bloody terrifying whichever way you want to look at it.

So in the meantime, as you mull that over... let's cheer things up a bit with this little gem (although a bit hypocritical of me, yes):

Old People behind the wheel

Buckle up, Bruno!

The dog's eyes (looks like a Bruno, to me) in this photo speak volumes in the confidence he has in this sweet old girl's abilities.  Hopefully he lives to tell the tale...

<insert timid WOOF sound here>

She looks like she means it though - and I'm dam sure I wouldn't wanna mess with her!

Stay safe out there, folks and happy travels,

.....BEEP, BEEP!!!


Thursday, 9 March 2017

When Young People Talk to Old People, BADLY.

Teaching our Kids Not to be Wimpy in the Art of Conversation!

It must be wonderful knowing that your teenage son or daughter is mature enough to hold an ACTUAL conversation with your adult friends. Seeing them chat away freely when introduced; radiating confidence galore when asked if they are enjoying their new high school, all the time maintaining solid eye contact and without a dot of embarrassment or discomfort.

While you stand alongside, glowing with pride and marvelling at what clearly must be some pretty bloody fabulous parenting skills.

Today I discovered that my 13 year old son... did not possess such ability.

Not even close, in fact.

As a mum who thought she'd had it all covered ie: good manners, gracious conduct, appropriate behaviour and the biggie: Respect for others... it came as a rude slap in the chops, as I watched Junior's social skills crumble and turn totally to mush.

An ideal location to meet and engage in friendly banter with Seniors, it's common knowledge in aged-care circles, that a doctor's waiting room is 'top of the pops' to test even the most experienced of gasbags! Our visit this morning, thanks to my son's recent sporting injury (long story, don't ask), was for follow-up x-rays and to be given the all clear to have the annoying brace on his arm removed.

Elderly people going to Doctor
A sea of Silver-tops!

It was as we sat bored waiting to be called, when an older smartly-dressed gent with a walking stick and twinkly eyes, leaned over to my son and asked in a fairly loud tone (hearing issues, obviously), what he'd “done to himself".

I continued reading my mag, confident that Chatterbox Charlie (as he is known at home and at school), would be equally as open and friendly. The two of them would yak away in 'blokey' fashion and by the time we left they'd be the bestest of buddies, with hugs goodbye and promises to meet for tea and biscuits one day soon.

But, what was this? Instead no, Junior was beside himself! Turning sharply to look at me, his face strained in terror... he was actually pleading me with his eyes, as if to say “Oh god, please Mum, SAVE ME!”

Mortified with the realisation that my own dear son was indeed a complete social weenie after all, I attempted to verbally prompt him so he could explain to the nice inquiring man how he had sprained his arm in a game of football.

But you're sposed to use your leg to kick the footy – not you're arm!”, the old guy joked, encouraging my son to join in.

As Junior turned bright red and awkwardly squeaked out some sort of inaudible response (all the time staring down at the floor wishing the tiles would open up and pull him down into the deep, dark depths of the earth where no scary old dudes could ever find him)... it dawned on me that some people might actually find conversation with an elderly person intimidating.

And I get that.

Growing up as a shy young teen, I remember myself the feeling of horror when an adult would talk to me – especially one I didn't know well. The worry of not knowing what to say, or sounding silly if I did say something, or being judged and thought an idiot. It was cause for some real anxiety!

In lieu of that thought, I decided my son needed a lesson in the art of conversation, STAT! Time for me to earn that Mother of the Year title and get him properly prepped and trained up on some good old-fashioned Communication Skills 101.

Yes, I would be doing this for me (and my shattered pride), but more significantly, I was doing it for my sad, socially inept son. It was imperative that in today's frantic and fiercely competitive world, that he be an efficient communicator; to gain the advantage over his peers by being able to competently talk and earn respect from older adults.

To impress the pants off his teachers, his footy coach or even his own grandparents by engaging them in some light, but thoughtful bit of chit-chat!

And at the same time, emphasise to my son that it didn't matter what age a person was. That all it took was a little friendliness and a smidge of empathy to show kindness towards another human being and to make them feel good. That some elderly people spend days, sometimes weeks, sitting alone in their homes, desperate for company and to feel part of the community.

Could he imagine what that must be like?

Elderly suffering Loneliness
Only the Lonely...

So while the old chap and I laughed and chatted about the weather, his dreadful arthritis and the price of petrol, I felt Junior watching on taking it all in. I wasn't completely daft though; I knew in reality my son's interest would be only fleeting and that soon enough he'd tune out, switch on his iPod and go back to picking at the tag on his arm brace.

But blow me down, before you could ask 'Is there a doctor in the house?' my amazing little man surprised us all as he turned to an older white-haired lady sitting next to him.

Then, without missing a beat and looking her straight in the eye, in a big clear voice said, “Hello, are you having a nice day today?”

My faith restored, I nearly fell out of my chair with the shock of it all!

Unfortunately, I don't think he will ever dare go anywhere in public with his fanatical mother again.  Not sure if it was the cheering out loud or the 'high five-ing' of the receptionist that may have just about sent him over the edge.


Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Letter to a Scammer

Scams Against the Elderly are Going Unchecked in Our Suburbs!

Too hard to prove.
Too sleazy to catch.
Leaving victims too embarrassed and ashamed to report it.

Dear 'Tom the Tree Man' (...or whoever you are in real life)

Firstly, thank you for kindly offering your services at the home of an elderly client of mine, Mrs Maria Popova, approximately six months ago.
Lovely Maria is a proud, but humble, ex-opera singing Bulgarian-born lady who is 89 years old and lives alone in her large family home. Although suffering a smidge of arthritis and prone to the odd fall (understandable when you're classed as legally blind), she is still very independent and in good health.
Somehow, Tom, I suspect you may already have known some of this at the time.
In fact, Maria remarked to me not long after meeting you, that it was uncanny for you to turn up on her doorstep one day, out of the blue, like you did. Straight after that huge storm we had a while back, when so much destruction had been caused in the area by some pretty horrific winds.
Oh, what a godsend you were, Tom!

Scams against the elderly
You told Maria that THIS might happen, Tom

How else would Maria have ever have known that the large eucalyptus tree in her backyard was leaning so perilously close to her bedroom window? 
And that one more big gust and her ENTIRE house could be destroyed, didn't you say, Tom? 
And therefore, it was imperative for Maria's own safety, as you told her at the time, that the tree be removed immediately.
Oh, and what luck it was, Tom, that Maria had all that cash hidden away on the ledge above the kitchen stove, in her little secret teapot, the one with the pansies on it. Coincidentally, the exact amount you required to start the job, Tom - $2000! A bargain, considering how the now terrified Maria's life could be at stake if the work didn't get done by Friday.
Pittance, really.
As you said, Tom, it would be foolish (and very “un-Australian”) NOT to pay you!
And so she paid you willingly, Tom, because you were just so caring and concerned for her wellbeing.
Which is why Maria understood completely when you ever-so-politely insisted, that you have the cash up front to buy materials NOW.
To be honest, finding people that actually do care as much as you do, Tom, is pretty thin on the ground these days. Especially hearing all the dreadful stories about elderly people being scammed by all sorts of dodgy tradesmen and fake utility servicemen. 
Innocent elders who are conned out of money that they've saved up during their working lives; nest-eggs for retirement enabling them to enjoy their golden years; or just money set aside for increased medical costs due to the inevitable health issues associated with ageing.
And then these fraudsters just randomly turn up at people's doors unscrupulously offering so-called urgent maintenance on phone, gas or power lines (because nobody dares mess with a potentially broken one of these). 
As a scare tactic – IT'S PERFECT!  
Then there's the scoundrels posing as contractors who scope out neighbourhoods, watching for lonely and vulnerable older adults who, desperate for company, are more than happy to believe the “nice man” at their front door. And that these 'necessary' property repairs, such as broken roof tiles, brickwork, cracked concrete paths, driveways or garden maintenance – are absolutely genuine.
Come to think of it, Tom, a bit like the work you 'suggested' to do for Maria?
It's sad (and scary) to think that older adults living alone are such easy targets to these con artists, merely because they trust people. 
Such a nasty world out there, Tom, when you think about it.
To know that someone could sink that low?

Elderly scammed by fake tradesmen
Nothing suspicious about this van....

But I'm sure it wasn't your fault you got held up, Tom. As Maria said, you probably had a lot of other work in the area that needed doing, too. In fact, it was only a few weeks back when she said she thought you would return any day now. That you and your little unmarked yellow van would pull into her driveway with all the special equipment you needed to get that pesky tree down before it did any more damage.
Even when the contact details on your extremely professional-looking business card came back with 'number not in service'.... she still had faith that you'd honour your word. Maria actually worried about you, Tom, and she hoped that nothing bad had happened to you.
Isn't that sweet?
Funny thing about the gumtree, and perhaps you were looking at it from the wrong angle, Tom? But a man from the council came to check it out the other day and confirmed that the tree could never have been a threat to Maria's home. Even if it did fall over – it just wasn't bloody big enough!
Strange, huh?
Sadly, Tom, in the last month or so, I have noticed a change in our lovely Maria. She is quieter than she used to be; she seems fearful and she's lost a lot of her confidence, relying on outside help in her daily routine a lot more than she used to.
It's painful to watch her become this way, Tom – almost as if she has given up on, well... PEOPLE?
Definitely hard to believe she's the same bubbly lady who once sang (with gusto!) in the shower, bottled her own nectarines and enjoyed social bus trip outings with the Senior Citizens club. Instead she prefers to stay at home alone - and just sit. Her family now worry because Maria has become frail and unwell and can clearly no longer cope by herself. Just, heart-breaking.
Anyway, Tom, thanks again for all you've done. 
When last I heard, Maria's home had been sold and she had been re-located into an aged-care facility situated miles away from the life she once knew and loved.
In the meantime, just one question... sorry, Tom.  
Because I know you're such a busy man...
Would you mind if some devious little snot did this to YOUR dear old Mum?!?!

Yours, in Disgust (and on behalf of poor broken Maria)
Dollie Dogood

Scamming the Elderly


Thursday, 2 February 2017

To Bidet, Or Not To Bidet?

That, is the Toileting Question!

I came across this advertisement while restlessly perusing an in-flight magazine recently.  It caught my eye for two reasons:

1.   The Heading: I'd only just written an article about the 'Worst Xmas Gifts Ever', and

2.   The Photo: showing a delighted looking elderly lady (in beige slacks). 

But, why was she... <giggle, snort>.... STANDING ON A TOILET???

Toilet improvements for the elderly
Seriously, how can they ever NOT be funny?

The Best Xmas Gift Ever!!
"Usually for Christmas, my children buy me towels or pillows or once even a
basket for the cat. Last year, after a wonderful lunch in the park with my family,
we came home and I found that for a Christmas gift my son had organised
the replacement of my old toilet seat with an electronic Bidet toilet seat. 

I had seen them advertised on TV and thought what a great idea."

After two weeks of having my new Bidet, I wondered how I had ever survived
previously without it.

All I have to do is sit down on my nice warm seat and go to the loo. Once I am
finished I simply press a button and I get a warm water rush and a stream
of warm air dry.

Now almost a year later, it has changed my life. I have saved a fortune 
in toilet paper and, I see going to the toilet as a time of luxury. 

It is the best Christmas gift I have ever received!"

- Sylvia Ross -

Upon reading the ad, I discover that the extremely chuffed 'Sylvia', is actually the proud owner (and operator) of a shiny new Bidet-style toilet seat attachment, secretly installed by her son as a surprise for Christmas.

Not an advert for your traditional (and totally terrifying) stand-alone Bidet, ahh no. 

Instead, Sylvia introduces us to the wondrous electronic Bidet Toilet Seat. A magical two-in-one appliance that means upon completing her regular toileting ablutions, Sylvia gets to be luxuriously “warm water washed” and “air-dried”. 

And without having to budge - BLISS!

I later showed the mag clipping to my own mother just out of interest. Similar in vintage to Sylvia, it was interesting to hear Mum's views on the whole Bidet topic. From the perspective of someone who, much like most of us finds those 'odd-shaped water fountain thingies' totally intimidating, she admitted that if she had to use a Bidet - she wouldn't know where to start.

It's more of an upper class European thing, isn't it... or is it something the prostitutes in Amsterdam use?”

My friend from bowls has a bidet – but she washes her Chihuahua in it”

I'd be scared it might explode... and I end up being given some sort of a nasty enema?!”

All silliness aside, I did start thinking that perhaps Sylvia was on to something (literally). And the more I thought about it, the more it seemed there were massive advantages to be had by a Senior considering enhancing their current loo, to include an automatice built-in Bidet. 

Interestingly, (but a bit odd too, I thought) I discovered after a bit of research, that the word Bidet comes from the French meaning 'small horse'.

Oh, so you strap yourself on and ride it like a pony?”

Yep, thanks Mum.

And that apparently, it was the Japanese who first invented the modern integrated 'toilet-bidet' as a nifty space-saving device. Without need of a plumber, it's supposedly simple to install and something an older adult (or obliging family member) could manage without too much fuss.  

Merely replacing the current tatty old dunny seat with a fabulous whizz-bang electric one.
Easy peasy... botty-squeezy! 

Being so suitably impressed by this snazzy new bathroom gadget (and without sounding like I have shares in the company), I have since started singing the praises of these electronic Bidet toilet seats to some of my elderly clients. 

Especially for those suffering never-ending incontinence or constipation; or pesky mobility issues from frail, weakened bones and stiff arthritic joints, I reckon it would be hard not to appreciate the enormous potential health benefits an all-in-one bathroom Bidet seat might provide.

8 Reasons an Elderly Person needs an Electronic Bidet Toilet Seat (EBTS):

1.   They can do their 'business', then clean-up, dry-up all in one hit ( one SIT?)  

2.   The EBTS means Seniors stay safe.  Not having to go 'up down' twice from a toilet to a separate Bidet means less chance of a skate on slippery tiles.

3.   Personal hygiene is improved and more effective due to not having to awkwardly reach around to wipe. Tender, sore and 'ouchy' bottoms can stay cleaner - and heal faster.

4.   No hands required. Mission complete - without having to touch your bits!

5.   Issues such as constipation can be eased (or 'eased out') by caressing streams of warm water - in all the right places.

6.   Seniors can feel 'shower fresh' using an EBTS without having to fully strip off and endure the physical ordeal of an actual shower.

7.   The EBTS assists elders to depend less on their Carers - which means maintaining self-confidence (and their dignity) for longer.

8.   The warm-air dryer of the EBTS means older adults with 'greenie' tendencies can feel most satisfied that they're saving “shit-loads” on toilet paper – HOORAY FOR THE ENVIRONMENT!

Wouldn't it be nice to offer the Beloveds in your life a tiny bit of luxury in their golden years? 
(Not to mention a toasty warm bum in winter).

It's time to let Nanna know just how much you appreciate her and that because she is so special she deserves to have... THE BEST BIDET-TOILET SEAT IN THE HOUSE!

Elderly people using Bidets
"Geez, I wish I had a fancy new electronic Bidet toilet seat!"