Most of our elderly parents live in denial
Most of our parents, even though they have become older and have lost some of their balance, still believe that they are completely capable of living unaided. Genuine inability to notice the gradual deterioration of faculties along with not wanting to “burden” their children with their difficulties plus pride leads to this deadly state of denial. And sometimes as children, we are also lulled into a false sense of belief that all is well, especially when we are living away from them – until there is some unfortunate accident that leads us to re-look at the situation with new eyes.
A few incidents involving our customers can help illustrate this problem as well as enable you to identify such situations and take necessary measures to ensure that your parents lead a safe and secure life.
I will narrate below one such incident involving one of my favorite customers. An elderly lady, she walked into our showroom one bright sunny day to take a look at what we had on offer. ”Saw your advertisement and was curious to know what you have for us oldies…”, she said with an impish grin. I showed her the different products we had and she clucked at each of them as though to say, “maybe for other older people… I don’t need these now”. Finally we came to the walking sticks section and she picked up one of them, checked the price, paused a bit, chuckled and said, “I might be needing this one of these days”. She then put the stick down and added “just not yet” and left the shop.
She came again a couple of days later saying she was just passing by and wanted to drop in and say hello. I noticed a slight stutter in her steps and her hand against the wall, but pretended that I hadn’t noticed anything. Her eyes wandered around the shop and I caught her glancing at the walking sticks. ”Not for another six months at least”, she half muttered to herself. She then shook her head, made small talk with me and went away.
A week later she was back. This time she said “I keep coming to your shop and going away empty handed. The least I can do by way of encouragement is to buy something. This time I am determined to buy something from your shop just to show you that I appreciate what you are doing and for all the times you have patiently listened to my chatter”. Then she looked around and said, “what can I get for Rs. 500?” and then she looked at one of the walking sticks she had spied during her previous visits. She grabbed at one and pretended to be surprised that it was priced exactly at Rs. 500. ”Humph, might as well buy this then, even though God know I don’t need it now. I only rarely feel dizzy when walking anyway” she said and bought the stick. She unwrapped it then and there and declared, “Now that I have bought it, I may as well use it whether I need it or not”! Now, every time she visits us, she has her trusted walking stick firmly in her hand.
It took this tough lady 3 visits to convince herself to buy a walking stick, something she needed quite desperately. Most of our customers are like that when they come by themselves – reluctant to accept that they are no longer as sprightly as before. Some times, one of their children or a younger relative accompanies them and in that case there is usually a lot of argument before the young person says “I will buy this now. You can use it when you want”. Invariable, whatever they buy gets used from that day forwards.
When you are living away from your parents, it is usually not possible to find out exactly how they are getting on. You end up going by their word, which is not always as objective as we would like it to be. So remember, you need to be a lot more proactive when it comes to ensuring that your parents have all the protection and safe guards they need to lead an accident-free and safe live.