My mom walks with a walker. But aside from that, she is still the same person and would like to be treated the same way she has always been treated by friends and family. She doesn’t want a lot of attention drawn to her. In my head this logical train of thought makes sense.
For some reason though there is a disconnect between my thoughts on this and the way Mom is treated at gatherings with friends and family. People seem to insist that because Mom has a walker, she goes first. For example at a dinner gathering, people insist on Mom walking first to get to the table and they follow behind. They insist upon waiting on the driveway until we walk all the way to our car as a family and even watch us get Mom in the car. The biggest one recently was at a family birthday party gathering- they announced it was time to eat and then insisted Mom go first along with her 85 year old uncle who also has trouble walking to be followed by the other elderly grandparents present. This irritated me. I know they were trying to be nice but it was irritating. Irritating on a number of levels. First of all, I understand people giving respect to elderly relatives and allowing them to get their food first. However, Mom doesn’t want to be lumped into the same category as her elderly relatives just because she has a walker. It also takes Mom awhile to move around. Then she feels pressured because everyone is staring, waiting for her to move, waiting for her to get in her car or get to the restaurant table. On top of that, I was just going to get Mom’s plate of food for her so she didn’t have to drawn any attention to herself. So then I had to explain that instead of just doing it quietly.
I have talked to Husband about how much this frustrates me. He said he thinks people just think they are being courteous and don’t know what else to do. What I would like to tell everyone else is to just be normal. Go walk to your table, go get in the car, go ahead and start the food line- we don’t mind. The fact that you are stopping to wait also means you are stopping to stare. This then adds pressure and stress to an already sometimes stressful situation. Becuase yes, it takes awhile for Mom to move. Sometimes we have to help her move. We don’t want a lot people standing there staring and waiting while this is happening.
This is kind of a bit of a rant. I do see both sides and understand the point of view everyone is taking. What I don’t know is how to fix this. I don’t know if in the moment I should suggest to people to go ahead and not wait for us. I just find it awkward and irritating. I think I take it more personally because in my eyes Mom isn’t an elderly grandparent, she is my 59 year old Mom. So don’t treat her like she is my grandmother, treat her like the person she is, my Mom.
Do you have any experiences where you think people may just be trying to be nice but in the process they are irritating you? Do you think people have a tendency to treat others with handicap needs like they are on an elderly level? Am I being too sensitive and need to blow this off?
I understand this post so well, and I don’t think you are being too sensitive. I remember when my dad was fighting Cancer (granted a different disease) but he would get frustrated at this. I must admit, at first I was the one doing it as well. Hated to see him struggle, but when he voiced his concerns and his feelings that it made him feel bad and insercure, I stopped and let him do his own thing and not baby him.
So I totally understand where you are coming from. People are trying to be courteous, but they don’t understand the pressure and feelings of inadequecacy (not sure if that is the right word) that comes along with being “coddled” and babied”
Great post!! Thanks for sharing!!
Thank you! And thank you for letting me know you have dealt with this in your own way too. It makes me feel like this something other people have experience and had to deal with too. You are right..people are trying to be courteous but don’t understand how that affects other people as well. Thank you as always for commenting!
Yes some of this is about courtesy and manners but I can also tell you from a quarter century of experience that it is also about logistics. When dinning or whatever able bodied people are actually ‘in the way’ until people using assisted devices are seated. Trying to get why wife in her wheelchair to a table is far easier if all the able bodied have not plumped their fat asses down at the table or are standing around behind chairs. Just like airlines people requiring assistance are boarded first!!
As for buffets, here good manners and hospitality dictate that the host ‘serve’ anyone with a disability not require them to jump through the hoops of going through the line.
Caregivingly Yours, Patrick
You bring up a good point too. I hadn’t thought about the logistics of it. I guess it is that mixed with the stares of people watching that frustrates me when it is happening. It may just be another thing I need to get more used to since it’s clearly not going away. Thanks Patrick!
Hey don’t personalize the stares you are too young. The ‘stares’ are only about one thing -each and every person being reminded of and reflecting on their own mortality.
Caregivingly Yours, Patrick
The way you worded this was wonderful. It really made me stop and think about the comment you made about the ‘stares.’ I am going to remember that going forward because that is something I have trouble with dealing with. Thanks.