I want to tell you about yesterday. I feel that we have to be vigilant in our efforts to not only look after our loved ones but to also be aware of the predators out there looking to take advantage of them. I first became aware that this happens quite often when I stayed a month at my mom’s apartment after she had her hip replacement. She was immobile so I was taking care of her and answering her many phone calls.
Besides the family and friends calling to check on her I began to notice the number of people calling to try to get her to donate money for this or that. While some of them where reputable charities some I had never heard of. I actually got into quite a heated debate with one after they called three days in a row. I told him that I would appreciate if they would take my mother’s name of their list of people to call.
He refused and when I explained that my mom did not have the financial means and was no longer able to make these kind of decisions he became very rude and told me I needed to butt out. This has bothered me every since, I began reminding mom everyday that if people called to get her to donate money she should refuse and politely hang up.
I had put her on the ‘Do Not Call’ list but found out that charities are exempt from this rule. There are people who set out to find our loved ones because they are easy ‘targets’. They work on their sympathies whether it be a child in need or sick animals, whatever works. I read an article in the AARP magazine mom gets and was shocked to find some of the ways scammers go about trying to steal money from our senior citizens.
Okay, so back to yesterday. Mom had received a letter in the mail telling her that they were trying out a new hearing aid. With this offer they would do a complete hearing test for no charge. They would do a thorough screening of the inside of the ear to make sure there isn’t any damage and that the patient could try the hearing aid for thirty days at no charge. Mom has gotten very hard of hearing and the new insurance she got at the beginning of the year will cover most of the expense of hearing aids, although she has to go to a certain company for them to be covered. We thought we would go to this and see if it is something that would work for her.
We arrived at our designated time and had to fill out a small questionnaire, when this was completed we were lead to a small office with one of those hearing tests that the patient puts on the headphones and raises their appropriate hand when they hear the beep. I could honestly hear the beeps through her headphones and she couldn’t hear most of them. They then moved on to a ‘thorough screening of the inside of the ear’ which consisted of them looking into her ear with a magnified scope like you would see in your primary care doctors’ office.
The last part of the test they would say a word and she was supposed to say it back. This part startled me I will admit because she could only repeat two of the ten words. The ‘nurse’ salesperson then came in to get the results from the ‘screener’ receptionist and began to tell me how dire the situation with mom’s hearing was (yes she does have issues with hearing, I had already known this and their tests confirmed it). The nurse then went on to tell me that the reason she was so forgetful was because her hearing was so bad, so according to her(the nurse), the Alzheimer disease was caused by bad hearing.
They couldn’t believe that I hadn’t already done something about this. Then they began telling me that if we bought these hearing aides immediately it would fix all of her memory problems, her hearing problems and basically cure everything under the sun. The hearing aid had to be purchased right then, for a mere $5400. I know hearing aides are expensive and I don’t disagree that it is something she may need. The whole point of this appointment was for her to try them out to see if 1.) The actually help and 2.) She would wear them or they would become a nuisance and something she would throw in a draw and forget.
She had told me repeatedly that she hears fine, but she doesn’t process what she is hearing. I said, “I thought she would get to try them out to see if they would even work for her or if they were something she would even wear”. They immediately stuck one of the devices in her hear and asked if that bothered her. Honestly it bothered me, being the OCD, germa-phobe I am, my first thought was how many other ears had she stuck that particular hearing aid in.
I asked if they were even turned on and she said “No”. So what is the point if she can’t hear how they would even sound. Then the hard sell began, if you don’t buy these hearing aides right now you are missing out on a great deal and you are robbing her of the ability to finally hear well. If you buy today it is $5400 and you can even finance this amount for $125 a month, then you get to try these miracles for thirty days and if you don’t like it we will refund you the money.
If you wait until tomorrow the price is going up to $7400 at $180 a month. If you have ever been to one of those time-share tours then you know exactly the kind of selling tactics I am talking about. I don’t like this kind of sales pressure. We did not buy and as we were leaving we walked through the waiting room and it was filled with senior citizens waiting for their appointments. I wondered how many would be pushed into buying without the opportunity to look around at other options or to find out a little more about the company etc.
I guess the point I am trying to make is this. It is hard enough to try and fulfill all the duties of a caregiver. To fit everything in a 24 hour day. I learned today that not only do we have to be vigilant with their safety and security, their happiness and their health. We have to make sure they take their medication, eat well, exercise, bathe and are generally happy, but I know now we have to protect their sensibilities and their finances from people who prey on the old and weak and to those people I say ‘Shame on You’!
Appreciate the good, laugh at the crazy and deal with the rest.
I love you momma!