Reduce nuisance phone calls and junk mail to reduce stress for the elderly
Nuisance phone calls can be annoying for anyone, but when your elderly parent receives such calls it can be especially distressing. Junk mail can also be annoying, and it can contain scams that target the elderly and the vulnerable. So how can you go about helping your elderly parent to avoid unnecessary distress?
Sign Up to the Telephone Preference Service (TPS)
The easiest step to take if you want to reduce the number of marketing calls your parent receives is to register with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS). This will prevent telemarketers from making sales and marketing calls. Simply register your parent’s number online for free at the TPS website, and it will take about a month to come into effect.
This will not, however, stop all calls from getting through. If your parent has provided a company with permission to contact them, the company can still continue to call their number.
Contact Companies Directly
When a company calls your parent and the call is unwanted, you can try to contact the company directly. Write to the company in question and ask for the number to be removed from the call list. This may not stop firms calling for market research purposes, but it can help to reduce the number of calls your parent receives.
Use a Phone with Caller ID and Get an Answer Phone
A phone with caller ID allows your parent to see who is calling, and they can then decide whether to answer or not. You can also set up an answer phone so that your parent does not have to answer the phone if they do not want to. If they receive a message they are unsure about, you can check it for them before they call back.
Use a Call Blocker
Another option is to use a call blocker, which can block individual telephone numbers, all withheld numbers, international calls and more. Some phones come with call blockers, whereas some call blockers can be attached to the phone. Some will also ask the caller to provide their name before the call is put through.
Provide Advice to Your Parent
Make sure you provide your parent with some basic advice about receiving calls. This could include:
- Remind them never to provide their personal details, and especially their financial details, over the phone.
- Answer the phone with a simple ‘hello’ rather than their name and number.
- Let them know they can always hang up in any situation if they are not comfortable.
- Advise them to always hang up if they receive an automated call.
Sign Up with the Mailing Preference Service
If you want to stop junk mail being delivered to your parent’s house, the first thing to do is sign up with the Mailing Preference Service. This is similar to the TPS, and it will prevent marketers from sending out junk mail. If you then receive mail from a marketer, you can complain to the Mailing Preference Service, and they will write to the company.
You can also opt out of the Royal Mail ‘s Door-to-Door service. This will only apply to unaddressed mail, and the Royal Mail cannot stop delivering mail with an address on it.
You can also call Royal Mail to arrange for your parent’s mail to be directed to your address if they are happy for you to do so. This is simple to do and can help to avoid any distress for your parent.
Put Up a Sign on the Letterbox
You may want to consider putting up a sign on the letterbox saying ‘No Junk Mail’, and this can help to reduce the amount of mail from local businesses sending out leaflets. You can buy various stickers at the Stop Junk Mail website.
Many scams target the elderly because they are more vulnerable. Always talk to your parent and advise them never to act on junk mail or to reply to it in any way. If they do think something needs a reply, make sure they always check with you or someone else first.
It is especially important that they do not provide any personal or financial details. They should also avoid anything that mentions a prize, and on no account should they send money in return for a prize. If you receive a scam – or what you think is a scam – in the post, report it to Trading Standards.
Avoid Distress Caused by Unwanted Calls and Junk Mail
Unfortunately, avoiding junk mail and unwanted calls altogether can be very difficult. However, by taking the above steps, you can reduce the problems they can cause your elderly parent, so follow these suggestions if you are concerned.