Sometimes I Feel Like a Piece of Bologna

Friday, January 14, 2011

Another Scam on Seniors

We all know that seniors are ripe targets for scams. We know that scams come in many shapes and sizes. And with the increasing focus on identity theft, it becomes a little scary.  Here’s a new one for our family.

A few weeks ago Mom mentioned that an insurance man had called and made an appointment to come to her home and check over her policy. “Which policy,” I asked? “Who?”

Well, she didn’t get his name, but she thought he was from John’s office. She has an annuity with John.

“Did he say he was from John’s office?” She thought he might have.

“So why didn’t John call?”  She didn’t know, but said they were looking at everyone’s policies because the home office thought there were some problems with them.

Sounded fishy to me. He was scheduled to come by the next morning. In my usual maternal voice, I told her than under no condition was she to allow him into the house without me there. I reminded her again that she isn’t to have salespeople in or even talk to them without me. She couldn’t remember what she had told him about her policies, but I was sure it was too much. I told her to have him call me and we would schedule a time when I was there.

I told her to be away from the house the next day, and if he called back, to have him call me. He called me the next day. Unfortunately, I was on my way out. I asked him to call me back that afternoon. He didn’t.

So I called John and asked him if he had indeed sent this guy. I knew it was possible. John is aging and winding down his practice. But wouldn’t he have let us know he was sending a new employee? Wouldn’t he have called first or even brought him by the first time?

Sure enough, John knew nothing about this guy. Without a name or number, we were left with no way to follow up. But I was grateful to have caught it this time.

I wish I could get Mom to stop talking to strangers. After all, didn’t she teach me that when I was little? Now she seems willing to tell anyone anything about her business.  But I keep trying. I keep reminding her and hoping.

What do you do to try to protect your aging parents from scams?

Photo Credit: iStockphoto

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Tuesday, January 04, 2011

DRNs Not a Surefire Solution

I read an interesting post today by a Facebook friend, Katy McKenna, at  Sometimes when I start feeling whiny and sorry for myself because of the pressures I’m under, I find it helpful to read about those who have it even harder.

At this point in time, I’m only responsible for my mom, and she’s still pretty self-sufficient. A few years ago I had her and my step-dad, but since 2007, I’ve actually had it pretty easy. Comparatively.

Katy, on the other hand, has responsibility for both her mother and her mother-in-law, both in different nursing homes. She tells a poignant story of the complexity of dealing with DNRs (Do Not Resuscitate orders) and in the process, gave me a lot of information I didn’t know. I hope you’ll read her post and share your own experiences with us. Together, we learn from one another. 

Photo Courtesy of

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Saturday, January 01, 2011

Taking a Deep Breath

I love the holidays. I hate the holidays. I’ve enjoyed a wonderful month and I’m SO glad it’s over.  Maybe you feel the same way.

This season I found myself listening to Christmas carols, knowing that somewhere in my past, those words and tunes had brought joy. And they were intended to bring it again. But this year they seemed to bring confusion. Like, “I know there’s a fond memory in there somewhere, but I can’t find it.” I think it was buried under the piles of wrapping paper and the endless stack of gifts I still needed to wrap.

I feel this way every year. The festivities of the season remind me of the Norman Rockwell holidays I never had. Didn’t have them I childhood, and despite my best efforts, seldom achieved them in adulthood. (Does anyone??) Hubby and I go through the motions of decorating before the fly-in visit from our adult son and DIL, but it just isn’t the same as when he was home and so excited about every ornament, every gift, every tradition.

I still aim for the Norman Rockwell holidays, which means lots of cooking and baking, and entertaining. I do what I can in advance because I just don’t have the stamina I used to have. When Son and DIL are here, I do things that I didn’t do when he was growing up, like cook breakfast, because I’ve found that a leisurely breakfast is a wonderful time to talk (as is midnight to 3:00 am—but that’s another story). But having only on bathroom means that I get up first to shower and get ready. Then I cook while the others are getting ready. Then it seems that I cook again and again, either for entertaining here or taking somewhere else.

We’ve had an event or party to host or attend every day for the last 10 days. And that doesn’t even count the Christmas celebration with Mom and my family of origin the 17th and 18th (that, too, is another story). I’m really not complaining. I organized many of those events and enjoyed once-a-year time with family and friends from so many areas of our lives. But the joy of the friendships doesn’t eliminate the sense of exhaustion that follows--and the reminder that no matter what I tell myself, I can't do all I used to do. We're blessed to have friends to celebrate with and frankly, I can’t see changing this voluntarily, but when I reach January, something  deep inside lets out a huge sigh of relief. I think tomorrow would be a great day to take a nap and read a book. Because school starts again on Monday.

Photo Credit: iStockphoto

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