Tuesday, December 2, 2008

it's a challenging world...

...for senior citizens like my parents.

my father, who is 85, got in a car accident on november 22nd. ..as of today, he was still without a car to drive (to put things mildly, nationwide was not on his side). ..even though the police report confirmed that the other car's driver was at fault, both the nationwide and progressive insurance companies were telling my father to call various phone recordings of people who were unavailable. ..it seemed (to him) as if the purpose of the insurance company was to refrain from helping.

today, i got involved (which included a couple of doses of "rhode island assertiveness") and we got it all worked out, and we got dad a rental car.

at the same time, my aunt (kay) was put in the hospital -- because of a prescription error that was made by her physician. ..my mother got the call this morning, and as we visited kay (this afternoon) she'd already been through several invasive tests, x-rays, etc. ..she had tubes connected to her body in several places, and i was completely amazed at her ability to deal with hospital chaos in a loving, upbeat, lucid manner.

the big thing that i re-learned, today, is that this technological world can be a nightmare for older people. ..that which seems like second-nature (to us) can be like a foreign language to seniors. ..some of them simply don't understand e-mail, blogs, police reports, insurance policies, phone recordings, mass-mailings, rental car rules, diagnostic tests, powered side-view mirrors, and the effects of multiple, simultaneously-prescribed medications.

in the future, i'm going to try to remember to sloooooow things down... and to help older people who find themselves waist-deep in technological, informational hell.


  1. Len,

    I feel your pain, I helping Beth choose a medicare supplement. Wish me luck!

  2. It seems to me that your aunt's doctor also needs to slow down, and we all need to ask more questions and demand more service from the people to whom we hand over our hard earned dollars.

    Doctors here usually make 10 minute appointments with each patient, so I often book a double appointment if I am undergoing something new, or if I know I will have lots of questions.

    I agree that it is harder as we age because 1) things seem 'newfangled' and more advanced and 2) we don't want to look like idiots who can't keep up. All the new input can be overwhelming, and there isn't enough patience to wait for oldies to catch on and catch up.

    I'm glad you are reminding us there is value in going slow and being present.


  3. Hi, Jean and Claude!

    Thank you for adding your thoughts and comments to this, a challenging issue.

    Any and all suggestions are welcome, as we and our loved ones navigate through this electronic, technologic, impersonal maze that is disguised as "progress."