Older Patients, Wiser Care

12 Advantages of Old Age

enjoying fish & chips
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People are often surprised to hear that I've chosen to specialize in medical care for the elderly. "Why geriatrics? Isn't that depressing?" they often ask me.

Well, we certainly get our share of sad moments in geriatrics. Luckily, those are more than outweighed by the many little moments of wisdom and humor that my patients share with me every day.

This week, I'd like to share with you the following list of twelve advantages of being old. It was given to me by 83-year-old Mr. R., who despite his damaged heart and high blood pressure, is still managing to take care of his 98-year-old wife. He brought this list to a follow-up visit, remarking that, thankfully, getting older is not all bad.

12 Advantages of Old Age

  1. You can sleep anytime or anywhere, maybe.

  2. You can drive slow and not be honked at or shot at, maybe.

  3. You can forget to zip up and nobody cares, maybe.

  4. You can reread books and magazines because by the time you get to the end you have forgotten the beginning.

  5. Soup stains don't bother you anymore.

  6. Every day is a holiday.

  7. You're able to buy the early-bird special and get a senior citizen's discount on other things.

  8. People are mostly polite to you even if you are ornery.

  9. If you forget something, it's thought you're having a senior citizen moment.

  10. You remember the good stuff and forget the bad.

  11. If the noise next door bothers you, you can take out your hearing aid.

  12. The doctors and nurses are always understanding and nice.

Reading a list like this, how could I not love taking care of elderly people? Witnessing the grace and resilience that many older people bring to the challenges of aging is definitely one of the best advantages of being a geriatrician. How about you? What advantages do you find in taking care of someone old?