Recently, a selfish, senseless moron stole my mother’s wallet. This sent my dear, sweet mother’s world into a tailspin as you can imagine. Some of the emotions she expressed feeling included: betrayed, violated, confused, helpless, frustrated and angry. I also felt helpless because my mother and I are in different states. This made it hard for me to support her in the way that I would have, were I right there with her.
The implications today of someone taking your wallet are far greater than someone just getting a bit of cash. In our wallets, we carry our lives: driver’s license, social security card, bank card, credit cards, etc. With these items someone can easily steal our identities. Who am I kidding, with less than this your identity can be stolen.
I digress, back to my mom. I can’t even tell you how confused she was when this awful thing happened to her. I can’t remember a time when she’s been more disheveled. My mom doesn’t have any problem with memory, but was having trouble in that moment, remembering the simplest things. I had to do whatever I could to help her deal with the situation.
Together, we called Equifax to freeze her credit. If you’ve ever had to do this, then you know how difficult this can be, especially if all the documents you can use to identify yourself have been stolen. This loss, coupled with the confusion my mom was experiencing, made communicating with Equifax to quickly resolve the issue nearly impossible. The person’s voice on the phone with mom didn’t change throughout the conversation; there was no empathy. It made no difference to the representative that she couldn’t recall the number of accounts she had or had no acceptable way to confirm her identity. This was needed for him to freeze her credit.
If you ever are in a position where you need to assist an elderly person in need, try to be patient and sympathetic. Give them the time they need to express themselves. Even if it takes time for them to share their story, let them. In all that was going on with my mother, I had to follow her lead. I committed to following her lead even when it didn’t make sense. They may have suffered a fairly significant event; don’t rob them of their dignity. This becomes even more important in instances where you know that the person, under normal circumstances, has handled their business without any issue in the past.