I was convinced that some of my relatives are the most stubborn human beings I know. I’m almost positive that stubbornness is the #1 export of my maternal grandmother’s birthplace, even if it’s not listed in the CIA World Factbook.
Then I met Mrs. K (not her real initial), my newest client. Given that she is a nonagenarian woman with a disability (Mrs. K has a hearing impairment), a healthy amount of tenacity is crucial, even admirable. She’s lived in her own house for a long time and was driving until a recent health scare. That said, because of said health scare, she’s under doctor’s orders to slow down a bit. She’s used to doing her own housekeeping, and she got very agitated the first time I washed the dishes for her. It took another day for her to let me take out the trash. I had to clean the refrigerator while she was asleep this morning, and when I vacuumed this afternoon, she reacted almost the way my cats do (although she did recover more quickly).
Now I know from stubborn. My Mom and I both inherited a rather generous amount of stubbornness, and some of my other clients have their moments, too. I’ve found that while sometimes I do have to be direct (i.e., “I’m being paid to help you out. Please let me help you.”), often a more subtle approach works better. For example, I made vegetable soup in the Crock-Pot yesterday, with the intention of bringing it for my lunch today. Instead, this morning, I had a brainwave and filled up a container with enough soup for both of us. When I arrived at Mrs. K’s, I stuck it in the fridge while she wasn’t looking. That was supper tonight, a change from her usual, which is either a sandwich, fast food or Applebee’s.
Now to figure out a subtle way to take her grocery shopping, since she won’t let me go without her . . .