Hi there, I'm really not sure where to put this. I've put it in self employed but not sure really where is best. I didn't know about carers, though I'm not a carer. In the end I thought it might be worth copying to ethical dilemmas. Let me know if you think I should get it moved elsewhere.
Anyway, I teach piano and keyboard for a living, both in school and privately. One of my private pupils is a man in his mid eighties who has been coming to me (from some distance of about 15 miles away) for about 3 years.
In the last 6 months he's had a couple of falls and his health has deteriorated considerably. He used to drive but lost confidence after the first fall so either I or DH collect him from the station, 4 miles away. In terms of time, it's not cost effective, but he's been with me a while and I couldn't just say I wasn't going to bother with him any more.
The last 2 times he's been due to come he hasn't turned up and we've waited at the station to no avail (he has no mobile phone). I've phoned his home and he's been very apologetic but he's obviously getting quite confused (last time he was blaming it on me having gone away - I hadn't).
I told him last time the lesson would have to wait now until after the Easter Holidays. I'm not teaching this week as I've had a really mad term and I need a proper break from it. We booked in a date later in April. I had to keep reminding him of the month. He was sure we were still in February.
Since then (start of this week) he's phoned me at least every other day asking when his lesson is. Every time I tell him and he finds it already written in his diary. Part of the problem is I don't think he knows what month it is any more. He then chats for ages, telling me all the same stuff he told me before, and I just cannot get him off the phone.
He phoned tonight again quite late. Easter Sunday, for goodness sake. It's not his fault, I don't think he had any idea it was Easter Sunday. I've told him every time that I am on holiday this week but it makes no difference, I still cannot get him off the phone. I just think he wants someone to talk to and whilst in principle I don't mind being that person, it's getting too much and I am quite stressed and really need a break from all work issues this week.
What on earth can I do? I'm not just in it for the money and I do care about my pupils and their welfare but I cannot go on like this; I have family and children and I need times when I can get away from work. I have caller display so I know it is him but if I don't answer he just calls over and over again, every half hour. He has family but I have no contact details for any of them and I don't live near so have no idea who his doctor etc would be. I can't just say I am stopping lessons - it would be too mean, and anyway, I doubt he would remember that information and would still keep phoning and wanting to come. Besides, I don't want to take the lessons from him as he obviously really looks forward to them. I am genuinely concerned for him, but I just can't go on like this.
Hi musicposy Tricky situation. I couldnt just dump him either. Could you perhaps make a big thing about how you would love to meet his family? Or that you are worried about him and maybe he should see his doctor?
or both? -all I can think of at this foolish hour of the day! I hope you manage to find some way to help him and also get him to stop calling you - it sounds really difficult. (we used to have a problem a bit like this)
Perhaps ring his house a couple of times - maybe he might have a family member there u can talk to? Or a home help of some sort?
Plus ring a few GPs in his area & say "I give lessons to mr x and am worried as he appears to b v confused, if he is ur patient please give my details to family so they can contact me" then they don't have to tell u if he is their patient (so no confidentiality breach) but hopefully if his family deals with the GP they will get ur message.
Fair play to you for being worried & thinking about how to handle this
maybe next time he calls you could ask him for the number of a close relative so that you can call them to rmind him, he may go with this, if so call the relative and explain the concerns you have for his health and see if they could help arrange lessons with someone closer to home who could go to his house as in reality he is now probably unlikely to bable to make the journey for much longer.
failing that as other poster says hep the aged or ss would ba able to help or advice you. difficult one isnt it.