On Aging: Slow Your “Role”

Say it Rah-shay By Jan 23, 2015 No Comments

Or: The curious way customer services DOES not serve the elderly and almost elderly.

Today I had to make a follow up call about an application I had submitted and the conversation went like this:
Lady at place I call: [Place I called], how may I help you?

Me: I am following up on application I submitted.

Lady  : OK, what’s your id.

Me: Provides ID and waits while she looks up information.

Me: I am checking on the status. I don’t know what I need to do now.

Lady: Well you have to fill out another form.

Me: Where do I get that form

Lady: Just go online.

Me: WHERE online?

Lady: The website (and rattles off some information for the page this can be found.)

Me: (admittedly getting grumpy) What page are you on? I don’t see that.

Lady: rattles off some more information

Me: Slow down and repeat that please.

Lady: (slows down just a smidgen) repeats info.

Me: What in the world are you referring to? (There was a little bass in my voice at this point. Bass or that high pitched squeak that I get when frustrated.)

Lady: Begrudgingly guides me through site

Me: I found it. Thanks.


My phone call left me feeling a bit small, feeling stupid and that feeling like I had been” gotten.” That feeling of small, of doubt, of embarrassment…how many times have *I* been the one dishing it out? I am pretty confident with my computer skills, can comfortably navigate my way around online and with fingers flying I am the one being asked for help. I have been that lady. Flying through an explanation and wondering why the person I was helping has not “gotten” what it was that I was telling them. Rolling my eyes or curtly answering a question that has been asked and answered a few times. Begrudgingly assisting my mom as she learns to use the new tablet she was given and feeling annoyed when she keeps hitting the incorrect button.

As I finished what I needed, I had a bit of an “aha” moment. My role is not to lord my knowledge over the person I am helping but to guide them as they learn what it is that they don’t know.

My usual would have been to call back [Place I Called] and raise six levels of Hell but today I merely took it on the chin, slowed my roll and have been working on patiently using my role to educate and share what I know so that that burning feeling is not spread.

Practicing Patience,


I am mom, daughter, sister, yarn lover, word lover, crazy cat lady and library chick. Find me with book or with hook and a hot cuppa.

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