An Easy Favor For Nursing Home Residents

The phone rang mid-session with Velma. Knowing the frail 87-year old was fiercely independent, I refrained from handing her the telephone, and watched as she slowly wheeled herself toward her side table.

She was halfway there.

She reached out with an unsteady arm. The phone wobbled in her grasp as she held it up to her ear.
“Hello?” She was silent for a moment, then scowled and slammed the phone onto the receiver.
“Who was that?” I asked, surprised by her sudden anger.
“I don’t know! It’s some machine! They keep bothering me. Want me to buy car insurance or some such nonsense. I haven’t owned a car in years!”
“You’re getting phone solicitations. That used to happen to me until I registered my phone with the National Do Not Call Registry. If you give me your phone number, I can sign you up too.”
“But I don’t know my phone number. I think I wrote it down somewhere.” She looked toward the stack of papers piled on her tray table.
“That’s okay,” I reassured her. “I’ll get it.” I called my mobile from her landline, capturing her number in my display, then dialed the toll-free registration number. One minute later, the process was complete. “There! We’re done. It’ll take about four weeks, but those calls will stop.”
Velma looked at me like I’d just worked a miracle.
“Really, it was nothing,” I told her, but one less annoyance for Velma meant a great deal.
National Do Not Call Registry: 1-888-382-1222

4 thoughts on “An Easy Favor For Nursing Home Residents”

  1. I do that for my yoga clients!!! I was shocked there families had not done it!!!! I wrote to the family and asked them to do it, they did not, so I did.

    ps I need to write some sort of yoga blog here–having such a blast teaching yoga to my elderly friends–and post some photos of one amaaazing lady I work with–at 82 still does a full shoulderstand.–wow.

    Marisa Sullivan, Yoga Teacher/Sociodrama and Theater Teacher

  2. Dr. El,

    It never occurred to me that residents might be getting those calls and we all know how irritating and bothersome they are! Thank you, on behalf of all our residents.


  3. Jill, thanks for posting the online registration address. Another easy option for those with Internet access.

    Marisa, I'm sure your yoga students appreciate the favor even if they can answer the phone upside down.

    Sue, I was surprised they were getting the calls too, but they are universally annoying.


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