Social Question

bobbinhood's avatar

If you are old enough to be feeble, how do you feel about strangers offering to assist you?

Asked by bobbinhood (5894points) March 31st, 2010

Yesterday, I was in my college cafeteria, and I saw an elderly gentleman carrying his dishes to the dish return. He was limping, and his hand was shaking badly enough to make his dishes rattle loudly. I immediately wanted to help, but I was afraid he would perceive it as an insult.

I have known several elderly people who adamantly insisted on doing everything for themselves because they felt useless when people did things for them. Often, they would look for ways to help me so they would feel like they were contributing something in life. This is not just my perception of what they thought/felt; they actually said this.

So, if you are elderly and somewhat feeble, how do you feel when strangers offer to assist you? Do you feel differently if it is someone you know that offers to help? If you are getting close to that point in life, how do you think you will respond?

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18 Answers

filmfann's avatar

Hopefully, I am still a few dozen years from getting to that point, but I think I will be receptive to that kind of help. The elderly today need some help with things like Email (helping the elderly cross the information super highway?) and things.
The one thing I have seen most elderly in my family fight over is their continued driving, and I plan to be fierce about that.
And keep off my lawn, you damn kids!

Coloma's avatar

I am only 50…very much in my prime…but, I would not be offended under those circumstances. I would most likely ASK for assistance rather than risk dropping my dishes or whatever.

I am very independent as a person, but accept that we all need a helping hand from time to time.

I have already hired a gardener and all around handyman type to do the hardcore stuff I don’t want to do, or is too hard.

I think the real ‘shame’ is in being too afraid to ask for help.

Coloma's avatar


Already in training for curmudgeon hood? hahaha

DarkScribe's avatar

It will never hurt to politely ask whether the person could use assistance. An occasional rejection isn’t going to hurt you.

Just_Justine's avatar

I would be very grateful and I know my elderly parents when they were alive would have been too.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I’m not there yet but when that time comes and if I’m alone then I hope there will be courteous people to assist me putting groceries in the cart without expecting a tip, twisting off bottle caps and childproof containers, opening doors for me against the wind and not riding my ass on the highway with the brights lights on.

CaptainHarley's avatar

When, and IF, I get to that point, I will be very thankful and gracious about declining any sort of help. : )

gailcalled's avatar

I fall in both categories some times. I just had a staff member put a 40lb bag of topsoil in my car and I will have someone else take it out.

I do ask people older than I whether I can help. They either say, “Yes, thank-you,” or “No, but thanks for asking.”

bunnygrl's avatar

@Darkscribe well said. and great answers everyone. <hugs> I am only 45 but I walk with a cane, my mobility is pretty limited (arthritis) and yes I am an independant type mostly, but I am always very grateful for any help offered by strangers or by my colleagues at work because I know that the offer comes from a good place. A kind heart should always be appreciated I think. When my Grandmother was in hospital she didn’t like the nurses washing or changing her, it wasn’t that she wasn’t grateful, it was just that she felt embarrassed at not being able to do it herself (she’d had a stroke at the time and had lost the use of everything down her left side) but she didn’t mind me doing it, we were really close. Great question @bobbinhood, its really lovely of you to think of this. <hugs>
hugs everyone xx

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

If I need help,I will accept it.
I offer my help freely too :)

casheroo's avatar

I’m not feeble but I have two young kids and gladly accept the help of others.

partyparty's avatar

Only today I asked a lovely old lady who had a walking stick, and was having trouble getting off the pavement if she needed help.
She smiled at me, thanked me profusely for my kindness, but said she would attempt to do it herself.
Her smile made my day.

faye's avatar

I’m not so old, 55, but I have terrible arthritis and I’ll take any help offered and ask for help too. Plus I’ll help those worse off than me. Sometimes it makes my day to get helped by someone smiling and happy.

YARNLADY's avatar

I accept help whenever it is offered, and whenever I can I offer to help others. If they say no thanks, that’s their prerogative, I would never let what might happen stop me.

Jeruba's avatar

I’m not feeble yet, but some things are harder than they used to be, such as maneuvering a heavy package into the car. I would never object to a polite offer. When I don’t need assistance, I just smile and say, “Thanks, I’m fine.”

Scooby's avatar

I get this a lot, must be the grey hair & beard? :-/
@ 42 though I’m as strong as a bay horse & quite nimble too in the mind as well as the feet I still put a lot of my much younger colleagues to shame but they are quite lazy! :-/
strangers on the other hand get a bit of a shock at my strength….

gailcalled's avatar

@Jeruba: Ya wanna swap knees?

Jeruba's avatar

You mean exchange my right for my left? Oh, I get it, @gailcalled. I think you’d be getting the worst of it. Two surgeries on one and chronic wobbles on both. They’ve been going out on me since I was 14. Periodically they put me on a cane or in a brace. Luckily my foot and my back are so bad right now that I can’t move fast enough to stress my knees.

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