I know I'm not alone when I say that I despise people who mistreat the elderly. One of my elderly neighbors was recently a victim of robbery. I am convinced that the crime was committed by someone she welcomed into her own home; her cleaning lady.
Little did she know that this seemingly earnest woman was taking pieces of her silver and jewelry items a little at a time. Why do we think that the cleaning lady is the culprit? She's the only non-family member to enter her home in the last six weeks. And that was the last time my neighbor counted her silver. Yes, she counts her silver. There simply aren't any other suspects. And, if you are thinking it might have been a family member, forget about it. I know every member of her family really well.
The police were called and the cleaning lady was interviewed. She denied any wrong-doing. Of course she did. And guess what! The police are inclined to believe her. Wow. Why? Only for the simple fact that my neighbor is old. "Are you sure she hasn't just misplaced these items?" the officer asked me. "I'm quite sure" I replied. "She told me she counted them six weeks ago after she hosted her bridge group. They were all there" I said. "Oh, and by the way, she told you that herself officer. Why don't you believe her? Why are you calling me about this instead of her anyway?" Granted, I didn't really say that last part. But I thought it. This woman might be advanced in years, but she is sharp as a tack. Sure, she uses a cane to get around. But she is of sound mind -- very sound mind. She can run mental circles around me -- a woman half her age. She reads the New York Times daily. She does the crossword puzzle in pen!
This experience has really opened my eyes to the lack of respect given to the elderly. And, it makes me even prouder, than I already was, to be in the senior care business. From day one, our mission has been to help seniors continue to live independently in their own homes for as long as possible. We do that by respecting our clients' current abilities and we help them maintain that independence by only offering help where and when it is needed. We also check out our employees -- they are bonded and insured and we do extensive criminal, DMV and reference checks. But don't take my word for it, ask to see the proof. Why? People lie. My neighbor used a local cleaning company. They told her their employees were bonded and insured. They lied. And, they admitted that they didn't even do a background check on this employee, which, as it turned out, wasn't really an employee she was an independent contractor.
So what is the moral of this story? There are obviously several. But the primary one I would like to leave you with is the importance of treating seniors with the respect that they deserve. Just because someone's body might be failing them, does not mean that they are not capable of processing thoughts and speaking for themselves. Give them the same intellectual respect you would someone half their age. They deserve it and so will you when you are their age.
I helped my neighbor during her time of crisis and I am happy to help you too if you need advice in navigating the many options of elder care. I've been in this business for nearly ten years and I enjoy being a trusted resource to my friends and neighbors.