Elderly woman lies about parking validation and wants to be more independent without a cane or walker

Lefty Graves

Woman using canePhoto byDavid MonjeonUnsplash

** This article is based on nonfiction by actual events that I have experienced firsthand; used with permission.**

It’s understandable that people want to remain as independent as long as possible. Many elderly persons don’t want to be seen as incapable or disabled, yet without a cane or walker; they tend to fall and injure themselves. On a recent outing, an elderly member of our family fell twice.

She was refusing to use her walker or her cane because she didn’t ‘want to look old.’ Although we tried to explain to her that a lot of people use a walker or cane and are even younger than her, she refused to bring her cane or walker along.

We had taken her to the clinic for a monthly injection that she requires, and she fell in the parking lot and again in the main lobby. When her appointed time came, she firmly told all of us to remain in the lobby as the lobby in the particular clinic she was going to be in was very, very small, and she went on the elevator to her appointment.

Concerned about her falling again, we debated on whether or not to follow her against her wishes. What if she fell as she left the elevator? After she boarded the elevator, my brother went to follow her, but when he got to the elevator, he realized there were only 7 floors, and she had told all of us her appointment was on the 9th floor. My brother went to the 7th floor, where he saw her in a huge lobby.

My brother stood where she couldn’t see him and watched her. When her name was called, she went back, and my brother went in to speak with the receptionist. He asked why the family wasn’t allowed in the waiting room. The receptionist looked puzzled and told my brother, ‘sir, we encourage all of our patients to bring a family member with them.’

As my brother was standing there talking, another patient entered and asked for parking validation. ‘What?’ my brother asked. ‘You validate parking too?’ my brother asked the receptionist; she answered that yes, they’ve always validated parking. Not only was this family member not allowing her family to go with her, but she was also robbing them of the money for parking!

My brother left before our family member came out from the doctor, and he came back downstairs to the main lobby. He informed all of us what he’d learned. Soon, our family member returned and said she was ready to go. My brother asked her if he could go validate parking at her clinic. She informed him that they don’t validate parking. He told her that he knew better, and he took her by the arm and back to the elevator and up to the lobby of the clinic, where he got the parking validated.

As they left, the family member griped to my brother that she was an adult and could do anything she wanted to, whether he liked it or not. He tried not to laugh as he explained to her that he was saving enough to at least buy her a cup of coffee by getting the parking validated. Just then, the nurse caught up to the woman and handed her a cane that the doctor had told her to use.

My brother hid his laughter and handed her the cane. She glared at him but took the cane. The rest of us met them outside of the elevator, and he filled us in on the information about the cane. We took her to the nearest coffee shop, where she ordered her coffee. We told her that this was her reward for letting us get parking validated. Do you think someone who falls often should be left at the mercy of others in a situation like this? Or do you think my brother was wise to follow and keep an eye on her? We do want to respect her independence.

© Lefty Graves. 2023 All Rights Reserved.

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Lefty has been writing online since 2000 on various topics, including youth mentoring, addiction recovery, parenting, gardening, advocating for seniors, sustainability, farming, and an eclectic mix of other topics. She resides on a farm with her family in Northeastern Washington State.

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