Let's try this again. I have several medical issues, walk with a cane and have a hard time getting up! How do you handle people that are overly helpful to the point they don't understand no thank you, I can do it?


12 Answers

Veronica Dultry Profile
Veronica Dultry answered

Well Sir, I think being kind has gone far enough. I would carry pepper spray and give them a warning growl. If the growl does not work, pepper spray them. If asked why you did such a thing, you could either feign dementia, or tell them that you feared for your life, in that they were trying to "help you to death".

PJ Stein Profile
PJ Stein answered

I have friends and relatives that have similar issues. I have had to tell people to back off for them. My mother-in-law has macular degeneration. My brother-in-law, his wife, my husband and I took her out to dinner. She needed someone to read the menu for her. Her sons decided they just needed to order for her and told her what she "wanted" without giving her any options. I put and end to that.

I guess what I am saying is if you have told people and they are not listening, get someone to speak as an advocate for you. Some people are just dense and don't get it. They think you are being prideful refusing help. Sometimes when another person explains that the best thing for you is to do as much for yourself as possible, those people listen.

Don Barzini Profile
Don Barzini answered

I have a couple of random suggestions RK, maybe there is one you can use. (Note: I intend satire here, not to make light of your situation):

-Inform the overzealous samaritan you are also a leper.

-Have yourself a collection of shirts printed up with "Thanks, I Got This" across the chest.

-Practice your best Death Stare until you can scare paint to curl.

-Eat lots of onions, bathe  infrequently.

-Attach an axe head to your cane and mutter incoherently. 

-Recruit a team of lackeys to do whatever would otherwise cause you to have to get up.

With all respect, Retiredkop, I'm sure you've already tried all that polite society would expect, and in fairness, that's probably the still right course. Be patient with them. My best to you, sir.

Virginia Lou Profile
Virginia Lou answered

Dear RetiredKop,

I would say try to be patient, as much as you can...they are needing some way to show their love and concern...NOT you need them...if it REALLY gets too much, then try this: Point out a nearby window and say, "Oh, look at the hummingbird!"

...and while they are trying to find this (nonexistent) hummingbird, you just sneak in and do the thing for yourself...the point being, they are needing something from YOU, you are not needing anything from them...and so to be as kind as you can...wean them away slowly...(and safely, they could hurt you in their enthusiasm!)

Danae Hitch Profile
Danae Hitch answered

I'm with Bikergirl. I generally don't offer to help unless I see them looking around, as if they are looking for help. I go to a Village Inn restaurant located near a retirement home. There are many elderly folks that come in. I'm the first person that jumps up to help open doors for them as they are trying to navigate opening a door and hanging onto their walker.

Other than that, I generally take a wait and see attitude. I might hover in the general area and see if they need assistance before I leap in to help.

It gives me faith in mankind that someone actually wanted to help, versus taking out their cell phone and recording and posting the video. So, I try to remember that when someone offers versus being completely apathetic. I hope that makes sense.

7 People thanked the writer.
View all 5 Comments
Danae Hitch
Danae Hitch commented
Ok, I see now. Yes, it's usually younger folks that just stand around, making no move to help. I noticed that a lot with cashiers. In that event, if I were to notice that you were having trouble, I would normally jump in to help, especially when I see that a person is struggling.

But to stand there with your thumb up your butt, so to speak, is aggravating. It's called basic manners, people. GOSH.
Jann Nikka
Jann Nikka commented
KKroger' and Wal-Mart have good cashiers that help bag and take your groceries to your car and will help with unload.
Retiredkop Retiredkop
My incident was at Walmart, twice! Maybe they were new or like Denae said lack of basic manners. About 99% of those 30 and over are helpful. Those under30 are running about 50%. Being a cashier is like any other job. Some are there because they want or need to, others are there for the check!
Didge Doo Profile
Didge Doo answered

I have similar problems but have been lucky. Most people stand back when I ask, though I occasionally get unneeded assistance.

I don't know how to answer your question. It's hard to find the balance between an affirmation and churlishness.

11 People thanked the writer.
Retiredkop Retiredkop
Usually I employ a second No thank you I got this. Accompanied by the Look. That usually stops 75%, going to have to come up with something better, but less than stuffing my H&K 40 up their right nostril!
Didge Doo
Didge Doo commented
Had a laugh at the H&K. :D
Rath Keale Profile
Rath Keale answered

I'm sorry to hear this, Mr. Kop.

I suppose you could threaten to beat on them with your cane, but if you don't want to go that far, you could just whisper, 'no means no' and then ignore them. 

8 People thanked the writer.
Retiredkop Retiredkop
Cop 101, you hand them your nightstick (cane) they are now armed, deadly force is now authorized! Actually they did teach us that in 1975 when I was a baby cop! Thankfully, never had to use that, and quite frankly wouldn't anyway!
otis campbell
otis campbell commented
Long time no see rath keale
Angela Anthony Profile
Angela Anthony answered

If you haven't tried putting your palm up as a visual "stop" while you're stating no thank you, you may try that, sometimes people need a visual aid to help them understand....of course lowering your voice when you say no thank you will also have an effect.

8 People thanked the writer.
Virginia Lou
Virginia Lou commented
Hippy that is a good idea, the sign language, just putting up your palm...
Retiredkop Retiredkop
More than likely it would, but it isn't a person to person cop thing. Fine for directing traffic, but bad for officer survival. It is part of the reason most cops don't shake hands with the public. Never offer something that can be used to control you! The few times I shook hands with someone is when the they were totally unruly and about to assault me or someone else. I would use a verbal Judo distraction by introducing myself and offer to shake hands. The handshake gives you a good grip on the suspect when you capture his/her hand with both of yours. Then you raise their hand, step step under their arm, an lower their hand. Now you have a pain compliance hold. You can leed then where you want them to go or have them go to the ground. If they resist they are causing themselves pain. I always told then, cooperate and I will reduce the pressure, try to assault me an I will tighten my hold. We are allowed to progress legally by one step higher than they are resisting. If they really do something stupid like producing a weapon you snap the wrist and spiral fracture the whole upper and lower arm. Too many years of doing the cop thing. Been almost six years since I retired and I noticed the other day the I no longer what people look like, where they are, and what they are doing!
Retiredkop Retiredkop Profile

Thanks for the great answers!  I was at a meeting the other day as it ended I started to get up from a seated position when unbeknownst to me a person grabbed me from behind rather forcefully and decided that THEY were going to help me stand up.  This person knows I was a cop, and still carry a concealed weapon. My first instinct was that I was being attacked, defensively I should have hit the ground, rolled over and grabbed my weapon.  You have to understand that in todays world and old man walking with a cane, wearing nice clothes and jewelry, and driving a nice car is easy picking for some.  Maybe I'm too wary, but I have seen too many attacks on the elderly, to not be.  I appreciate the people that try and help, you can see it in their eyes that they care, but I have always been taught, ask first, then help! I just need a better way to make some understand, that I am a lot slower than I used to be, but I still can do many things!  I went to a place that had stairs to climb, the guy next to me stooped over and said "I know the fireman carry, jump on I'll carry you to the next floor!" Yeah right!

Jann Nikka Profile
Jann Nikka answered

I just accepted their assistance, say thank you and move on... People mean well.

My sister used to walk in front of me, never hold the door open, would sit in inaccessible tables, never help me with the door and would make rude comments about how physically strong she is. Another reason I, 86ed her. 

When you feel uncomfortable tell them in a nice firm way, you don't want, need or appreciate their help.

Bikergirl Anonymous Profile

Well I suppose the recourse is to repeat the "no Thankyou" just a little more firmly.  Some people are a little more insistent and if they don't take the subtle hint .. Then be a little more agressive in terms of getting the message across.

I (for one) am always a little apprehensive to help someone struggling like that ., thanks to one "episode " I experienced many years ago. In the parking lot of a mall, I happened to see an elderly man struggling to get his wheel chair out the back of his SUV. It was quite evident that he had very limited use of his legs because he had to prop himself up on the side of his vehicle while he struggled. Sooo .. With good  intentions and helpful spirit I promptly walked over and politely offered to help. All I got was a stern "NO! I can do it myself" ! So, I backed off and walked away and when  I looked back a few steps later he was still giving me the " stink eye" .. so maybe that's what you need to do .. polish up your "ol'stinkeye". 

Tom  Jackson Profile
Tom Jackson answered

I know there are all sorts of items out there (especially for infants and toddlers) that play a prerecorded message at the push of a button.

Perhaps you could get a similar small mechanism (they must be small since you can also find them in greeting cards) that shouts "Ouch" or "F*** Off" or some other terse message when someone touches you physically.

You could either have a remote trigger to your hand or some other easily accessible place, or simply keep it in a shirt pocket and trigger it when someone touches you.

I seldom come across someone such as yourself; but while I am sensitive to the possibility that they may need a hand in a unique situation, I find them usually quite able to cope and would never touch them without their permission.  (Unless of course they were falling down.)

Answer Question