The Truth About Geriatric Patients


Julianna Rigsby, Staff Writer

In class, I went through a series of rotations where I learned what it would be like if I was an elderly person. Every day, elderly people face challenges that younger people do not even think twice about. I have even seen this in my own grandparents as they have gotten older. During this lab, I was able to try different daily activities that become more difficult as we reach old age. Seeing the way these activities hindered me from doing things I do every day was really eye-opening.


In one particular activity, we put glasses on that had been altered in an attempt to show how some elderly people see the world. The activity had us put the glasses on and try to read a vision test. I was unsuccessful at reading the chart. This activity was supposed to show us how the elderly can develop eye problems such as cataracts and presbyopia.


In another part of the activity, we were supposed to put big gloves on and attempt to open multiple pill bottles to see how it would feel if we had developed arthritis. This one was very eye-opening as well because my grandmother has arthritis in her hands and legs. I cannot imagine waking up in the morning and being unable to complete such a simple task.


In the last activity, we got to try unsweetened lemonade to see what certain drinks and foods would taste like. In elderly patients, it is common for them to have less sensitive taste buds. At nursing homes, it is common for the patients to use seasonings to try to make their foods not taste so bland.


After completing the rotations I felt horrible because I had never really thought about how hard everyday life could be for elderly people. When they have to complete simple tasks, it is much more difficult than it would be for us. Doing this activity made me feel bad for the elderly people in my life, and it made me worry about when I grow old. But there are family members, nursing homes, and other programs that can help elderly people get through the things they are faced with every single day.