As I was thinking of a what to write about, the electricity went out and the cable, obviously had to be reset. It reminded me of an incident that occurred a few years back and it might be a good reminder for caregivers to have the stranger danger talk– with your parents.
The cable went out. No cable– no phone. I was not home. So my parents tell me this tale of woe they experienced sans electric….. Dad goes outside and walks around. Kind of yells to the neighbor’s front door. Nobody answers. Sees a neighbor walking on the sidewalk. Strolls down the driveway to strike up a conversation. “How’s it going?” the unknown neighbor asks.
My dad says “Well, not so good, phone’s not working and the TV won’t go on. The Indians are playing on TV.” He invites the man in to look at it but cannot figure out the cable so he leaves. But not before my dad gives him my son’s cell phone number. I have instructed my parents to NEVER give out my cell phone number. But I didn’t mention my son. Oops….
“Dad,” I said. “is it that important to have your TV running every waking hour and inviting someone that you don’t know into our home?
“But I think I have seen him in the neighborhood,” was his reply.
Granted it turned out to be a neighbor who strolls by the house on a daily basis. But we live in the era of people taking advantage of the elderly, where unthinkable events have occurred and neighborhoods are broken into. It happens.
On another occasion, my dad answered the phone and the man on the other side identified himself as my son. He proceeded to explain that he had been in an accident and needed money. My dad came over and I saw the look of concern on his face!
He said Matt was in an accident. My mother’s instinct went from panic stricken horror to reality. Something was really off. I would have been the first contact for my children. And I was home so I grabbed the phone from my dad and the person on the other end hung up. When my father said it did not sound like my son, the caller answered that he had a broken jaw from the accident, was in a lot of pain and went on to say he needed money to hire a lawyer because the police were saying it was his fault. So many red flags were raised, it seemed so obvious. But when it comes to family matters, we just want to do as much as we can as quickly as we an and that was how my dad was responding.
Sadly, we live in a world where cautionary tales like this abound and we cannot remind our older family members often enough to beware.