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This entire week Mom's in-home, Medicare helpers have been calling me. They act as though my Mom has been "abandoned" and there is no one there to help her but them. Then the condescension starts, "did you know your Mom needs this and that?..." Of course, I think my Mom loves the attention and plays the orphan card.
Doctors are another treat. Their favorite thing to do is order tests for minor ailments. When I question the reason for the tests they get snarky. Many of these tests just wear Mom out then they never call us with the results.
And last, but not least, calling the front desk at a doctor's office to get an appointment for an immediate, minor need and being told to take Mom to the emergency room.
Mom is close to being a shut in. Her physical health is very fragile and even getting in and out of the car is painful. But when I try to explain this to these people, they act as though they've never dealt with an elderly person.
The last straw was when we went to Mom's previous PC doc. Her nurse told Mom to hike her little 5'1" body onto a high exam table, didn't want to help her (or even touch her), then left her sitting without back support for several minutes. Just inhumane or perhaps ignorant. Needless to say Mom now has a new doc who is also a gerantologist.
Anyway, I try to keep a civil tongue and pleasant tone, but the patronizing and callous way some medicos treat seniors makes me wonder what it will be like when I am older. LIke calling seniors "dear" or reffering to my Mother as "Mom" instead of using her name. It is just a nother step to losing one's identity as we age. I wish someone would create a training course on modern "bedside manner" for seniors. (I can tell right now that I will not make a very good "little old lady")
Anyone have some techniques for dealing with medical people that yield positive and less stressful results?

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Yikes! I thought a lot of this went out with the Stone Age. When I first started with eldercare, I saw a lot of this ignorance. I know that some still exists, but it seems you are running into it everywhere. No wonder you are miffed.

I believe in talking with medical people with respect and trying to "make friends," but when they act like this, you may have to just tell them you'd appreciate being treated as part of the care team and not as an intruder.

It is hard to get anyone in to see a doctor "right away", so being told that if it's an immediate need she needs to go to ER is likely a way to protect themselves.

It's hard, I know, to strike a balance between being friendly and being in charge. You have to go with your gut. But I'd certainly correct anyone who calls your mom something she doesn't like, but saying nicely, while looking at your mom, "You like to be called.....don't your, Mom?" Set an example by not talking in front of her.

You won't fix this all at once. Finding new doctors, new agencies, etc. can help, but that is frustrating, too. Maybe others on the forum have some answers.

Take care,
Carol
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Thanks Carol...you are always the voice of reason and diplomacy, so I am glad you responded. I, too, have recently started using the word "team" and that has helped a lot. Also, complimenting truly great service works wonders. I know that being a medical professional must be stressful and I know that many patients can be beligerent. However, I tire of trying to be "graceful under fire."
Another part of it, I believe, is in professional development. Medical schools need to focus more on the "soft skills." So much healing can be accomplished when a patient and his or her family feel as though they are being respected. And I agree with you, these current behaviors should be a part of the "stone age."
I fear that this is just an underlying symptom of a greater problem. We live in a "youth-fixated" era. During the turn of the last century children were "seen but not heard." I think we are seeing the reverse. The end result is that elders lives and well-bieng are not valued. The media treats elders as if old age were a contagious disease. We are creating a climate wherein we fear growing older so the result is warehousing seniors and separating them from the greater population. No wonder we are seeing more Alzheimers/Dementia. I wonder if some of it comes from social deprevation.
Anyway, things must change and they need to change with the individual. It is interesting that we tolerate ageist sterotypes in the way we accepted sexist or racist slurs several decades ago. Personally, I no longer tolerate ageist verbiage from anyone and I make sure that my Mother's wishes are known and understood. However, being an advocate is tiring and it is taking it's toll on me.
Thanks again for your input...always appreciated.
Lilli
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Lilli,
My mom often plays into the condescension & milks it for all it's worth. The "poor me" waif comes out & eats it up.
Esp. when it comes to social workers; I am left entirely out of the picture but later berated for fabricated wrongs and spoken to as illiterate and negligent by someone I've never met. Mom may or may not know what she says to a social worker may harm me, but she thinks she's clever and to her that's all that matters.
"Proffesionals" often use the elderly as "cash cows" with no real concern for the individual at all. I have found this to be the case so many times, having had to dismiss visiting nurses and doctors that had dollar signs in their eyes when supposedly treating my mother.
The growing greed and lack of work ethic has angered me greatly. They will reap what they have sown, but in the mean time we are all cheated. Our tax dollars pay for the medicare which funds the medical monsters that have the audacity to disrespect us as well as rob us financially.
I'm glad you found another doctor for your mom. We have to be dilligent.
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castoff...I wholeheartedly agree about parents playing "both sides of the fence." Mom thinks that she is getting free services and attention, but all she is doing is padding the pockets of these mercenary people. They make her think that she needs every gadget under the sun. When I intervene, they make Mom think that I do not want her to have all this "stuff." (her closet is filled with devices that did not work or she just got tired of.) I finally told her that, from now on, she needs to call me before setting any of these services in motion. For example, the company that provided Medicare services for in-home care had people coming in to see Mom sometimes three times a day. When Mom asked why she needed all these people she was told that it was their "policy." Their policies are costing the taxpayers millions and depleting the Medicare coffers.
As a caregiver we get grief from both ends: from family members as well as medical companies who try to pilfer senior's pockets. We are stuck in the middle, trying to do the right thing, and getting "attitude" for it in return.
But as you said, we have to be "dilligent." At the end of the day, I know that the decisions I make for Mom are with her needs in mind, not for my own interests.
Take care,
Lilli
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I have also experienced this problem with medical professionals. My father died two months ago after an eight month illness that involved 9 different facilities. Some of the doctors were wonderful and some were patronizing. I researched as much as I could regarding my father's illness, was very firm about receiving answers to questions, and was complimentary to medical personnel who treated all of us with dignity. My brother is a doctor and was often patronizing to us when we asked questions. I am a teacher and just used my best "no nonsense" attitude with him and others who were patronizing. Always remember that doctors are working for you, they can be wrong, and you and any family member should be treated with courtesy and dignity. Doctors often need a gentle reminder about their position in the doctor/patient relationship. Hang Tough!!
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Hi, Lilli! So sorry about the less than dignified treatment and manners you and your Mom have experienced. When that happens it just makes it makes it so hard for The caregiver and our elder to want to keep up with future appointments. I don't know why some healthcare personnel don't understand basic dignity and respect in care of all patients, regardless of age.

I used to dread my mother's intake with one of the medical assistants in a doctor's office. The MA displayed no common sense and/or patience in communicating with an elderly individual.

I allowed the poor treatment to slide that one time, but if it were to come up again, I would ask for another assistant for my mother's intake. It's not worth it. I think some healthcare practitioners forget who their customers are. You think?

Pick your battles, and don't allow yourself to run into the ground, Lilli. Both you and your Mom deserve better. Hang in there. It can be emotionally draining, I know. It's not you!
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Another incident: Just yesterday I took Mom to her pc doc. I called ahead and made an appt. for both a flu shot and UTI exam. Somehow the UTI exam did not get communicated to the doc's nurse and she became unglued. She tried to imply that WE should have known that the doctor needed to "examine" Mom (btw, how does one "examine" someone for a UTI?) and the doctor's schedule was tight and she wasn't sure he could see her. I pointed out that all that was needed was a specimen. With me in ear-shot she lied to the doctor and told him that we just "dropped in" and demanded a test. Next, the nurse pushed a "cup" in my Mom's hand and pointed to the bathroom. Mom has Parkinson's and could not hold the cup properly - she felt so bad. So, I told the nurse to forget the test and we would just get the flu shot. Then she was upset because Mom could not fill the cup! In the meantime poor Mom was just standing there in the hall while the crazed nurse huffed and puffed and finally pointed us down the hall for the flu shot. The much nicer nurse who gave her the shot mentioned that Mom should have been given a "hat" - a bowl that collects the urine for those who have poor motor skills. We thanked her, then, left the office. Later that day, I took Mom to an urgent care facility (love those...we need more of them). They take patients on a walk-in basis for minor ailments. They took Mom right in, tested her, and gave her an antibiotic - oh, so easy! Now here is where Divine Justice comes in. The same day, the urgent care sent a report to Mom's doc. Later that evening I get a call from the doctor asking me what happened. I told him the whole story and added that since the majority of his patients are elderly his nurse should have shown more compassion and empathy. He agreed, apologized, and asked me to share his regrets with my Mom. I almost fainted...but at least he did the right thing.
Here are the questions that plague me: Does it not take the same amount of time and energy to be helpful, courteous, and kind to patients as it does to be nasty, mean-spirited, and hateful? WHY on earth do docs hire these creeps? (it can't be good for business). I have also noticed that docs hire these "bulldogs" because they keep the flow of patients coming in and out - can you say "KA-CHING?" - then they act so innocent when that same bulldog bites someone who won't put up with it. Caregivers have so much on our plates without having to encounter grief from the doctor's "little helpers." But the buck stops with the doc, he or she creates the atmosphere in the office, trains the staff, and sets the tone.
There are SO many doctors out there, even in our small town, I think we all need to just "shop" for and demand better services.
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My issue is similar to many stated above BUT I do not live in the same city as my 87 year old mother. My mother goes to work for four hours each day and does not realize that she is not keeping up at work. She drives to the office and I can tell you having visited recently, this is not a safe activity. She is on several meds and it not always sure what they are for. Her doctor sees her regularly but never does a full exam; he just prescribed more meds for the symptoms she describes. She will not listen to any discussion about moving to a more sensible living arrangement (she is in a five bedroom, two story house alone) but constantly makes her children feel guilty if we do not call, or for my sister who is in the same city, visit daily. She has many moods swings and I really cannot understand why they do not come up at work but I do know that the board of directors for the charity where she is employed are struggling with what to do with her. They are too kind (?) to suggest she retire. IF she does retire I am afraid her doctor visits will become more frequent as she will turn to the doctor for the attention and socialization she will no longer have from work. Sigh ... I am frustrated and I keep telling my own children to tell me when I get like Gramma. They point out that Gramm used to say this as well and that no one has the nerve to tell her now.
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