Experiencing A Moment Through An Elderly Patient’s Perspective

At Weill Cornell Medicine, a professor invited elderly patients to speak to second-year medical students to prove there’s more to aging than meets the eye. When envisioning the Story arc of our lives, there are certain highlight Moments that may serve as mile markers: first kiss, first job, going to college, getting married, having children—and then the mystery of getting older. In medicine, it’s easy to forget that there’s more to the life of an elderly patient than just their ailments; the elderly aren’t defined by just the fact that they’re old. The Moments that the elderly share with their physicians (their love lives, passions, and hobbies) assist these physicians in Shifting their Perspective to allow them to see the whole human—not just the body or illness being treated.

When interacting with team members, providers, patients, and guests, what Moments are we missing in their lives? Is there a way we can better honor the humanity of all those who interact with our health care systems to honor their humanity?