Well, after a long hiatus, I've finally decided to get into this blog business again.
The whole point of this blog was to talk about my historical experiences of looking after my dad, but I think this blog will be wider in remit for reasons I may talk about in the future.
So, for now, this blog will be a few random thoughts I may get on issues surrounding the elderly and vulnerable. As it happens, I have a few random thoughts to share from the last few days.
Went shopping in Tesco on Wednesday evening and as I always do, I immediately notice the elderly and disabled in the shop. It was in the evening and I was with my brother who drives, I don't. Even for a younger person, it's not easy doing things like get shopping if you don't drive, as I regularly know myself. (try getting a trolley on a crowded London bus full of shopping.... imagine if that's your only option.)
I first spotted quite a young chap who was in a motorised wheelchair and he was struggling to reach most of the shelves - nobody offered to help him. I did. He could only reach the bottom two shelves and the rest of the shelves were inaccessible to him.
As I noticed him going around the shop, I could hear he was getting increasingly frustrated. As he left one of the aisles, he was swearing quite loudly, I assume with frustration. That's when I stepped in. He was very adamant he wanted to do things himself, but he simply could not reach the bulk of the goods. I helped in the freezer section and told him if he wanted more help, just to come and ask me, which he did later when he wanted some cereals. How is a person in a wheelchair meant to reach into a deep open freezer, or even the newer standing freezers with doors? The door handles are quite high up.
The second person that got my attention, was a very frail elderly lady on her own. I'm small, she was smaller. About 4ft5. Her tesco's trolley was almost as big as her. She was holding the tesco's trolley with her left hand, while holding her own trolley bag with her other hand. She could barely manage and she was all bent over too.
I went up to her and suggested that she put her own trolley into the tesco's one, that way she would only have to deal with one thing. When I go shopping on my own, I always put my own trolley bag in the large supermarket trolley standing right up. It looks silly, but I couldn't care less. She explained that she normally brings a smaller trolley bag which she clips onto the front of the supermarket trolley. This time she had a larger trolley bag, but she only had a small supermarket trolley, so really my "helpful" suggestion was not particularly helpful as she would've been unable to place her own trolley bag in the smaller supermarket trolley.
What may seem like something obvious to you and me, is not obvious to them. Do always state the obvious!
I did help her as she went around the shop, but I think she was very tired and couldn't remember half of what she wanted to begin with. I didn't ask her why she decided to go shopping in the evening. Most elderly people go shopping after the morning school run between 9-11am in my area.
As I had a trolley load of my own shopping, I don't know what happened to the chap or the lady. How did they get home with their shopping? I don't know and at that specific point, my attention was fighting with my brother who was going into hysterics that i was taking his precious time up and a miserable cashier.
I would like to say that as I was being driven away, I looked at the bus stop as we drove by it to see if the man and lady were there standing in the cold, waiting for the bus. I didn't. At that point, my mind was on stuffing my face with some of the goodies I just bought. We need to care more about others who are less able than ourselves and not turn a blind eye.
There are so many aspects to shopping which is very hard for the elderly and disabled and I will get into some of these issues in the future.
If you have elderly neighbours, especially one who is own their own, please offer to help them a little! Milk is heavy. Imagine if you are disabled or frail, it's ever heavier.