Respecting our elders

This past semester I had the honor of taking a required nursing class about the chronically ill, disabled, and aged adult. I say this was an honor because it opened my eyes to the elderly in a very different way.
Too many times I hear other students say things like; “Ugh, I hate old people”, or “I never want to get old. Old people are gross!” What people don’t realize is that this is going to be us one day. These older adults are someones mother, father, friend, and loved one. I have come to know the appreciation that the older adult can bring to one’s life. The wisdom they have acquired from living a rich and full life is priceless and much can be learned if listening. The stories of their glory days of younger years are amazing to hear because times were so different then. Their generations and generations before theirs worked harder and seemed to appreciate things as they were. Children were not awarded cars for good grades and a person’s word was as good as a written contract.

Working with the elderly and older adult has taught me many things as a student. Among these things is the very important virtue of patience. As we age our bodies slow down and our minds need a bit more time to process information. Sometimes the elderly may feel confused and scared and just having someone by their side for a little bit offers comfort. Perhaps an Alzheimer’s patient needs to have something explained over and over to them. Although sometimes as nurses, time is of the essence and spending more time with our patients is not an option. Peeking our heads in every so often to check in can give the idea that someone cares and hasn’t forgotten about them!

When I find myself getting frustrated with an older patient, I tell myself; they were young once and I too will be older someday. How will someone treat my mother when she is older? How will someone treat me when I am older? Thoughts to ponder upon!

In the class noted in the first paragraph, my professor had shown us a very touching video that I would like to share with the Scrubs readers. Here it is!

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