Elder Wise

Elder-WiseToday was a day that I spent more time than normal with several of my elderly clients who are absolute dear hearts. I manage property for the both of them and as chance would have it, Their two separate appointments happened on the say day. One appointment was a scheduled meeting with a government agency and the other appointment was to go over documents and get signatures regarding a sale soon to close on a property.

The earlier meeting with the government agency went well for my client, but I could tell she really didn’t like being asked such silly questions and was beginning to get flustered. I simply whispered to her that it was Ok, and the clerk was simply doing her job. I would really love someday to create a curriculum of my own and start giving seminars for government bodies in how they really should conduct themselves when helping the elderly. Too many women speak with squeaky high pitched voices and don’t open their mouths when asking questions or talking about something. Men are as well to blame when slurring their words, not opening their mouths and talking a mile a minute. They have nearly no comprehension of what it’s like for people who have hearing loss. Hearing aids do help but it’s not the same as having normal hearing. When an elderly person can’t fully hear everything that’s being said, they become embarrassed as well as agitated. I mentioned to the clerk that she must speak slowly and clearly; She didn’t even bother to make an attempt to change her form of speech. To top it all off, the clerk was surrounded by computers and she was trying to talk around them. Terribly inconsiderate, and that work station design needs to go back to a govt. drawing board.

With that said, we did get everything accomplished and my client became more herself again as we drove away. I asked her if she would like a chocolate cone from McDonald’s. Her eyes became bright and responded, “That would be nice of you.” Pulling back on the highway and heading for her home, she seemed completely back to her normal self while licking the cone and taking in the views while I was still internally fuming over the lack of consideration that clerk had for my client’s hearing handicap. Oh well, that clerk will likely have to learn the hard way some day in her life.

My second meeting with an elderly client was to go over a number of documents in preparation for the closing of one of her parcels of real estate. I have worked for her whole family for a number of years and they’ve come to be as an extension of mine. She always waits patiently for me and greets me with sincere smiles. She has several health problems, but the greatest is her limited motion abilities. I’m sure she used to feel embarrassed whenever I would have her sign something because of the position the document has to be placed for her to write, but that’s long been dismissed because she’s long ago realized I understand and respect her physical limitations. I was with her longer than expected simply because we both have to play catch up with each others lives as well as get a few laughs in to boot. Her laugh is contagious.

I truly hope more of those who find themselves working often with the elderly, become a bit more elder wise. Perhaps all parties involved will be all the better for it.

Joe Chodur

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