Meeting Sy: Part II

It's important to note a few more things about my Dunkin Donuts encounter with Sy.

1. Sy didn't come across as a malicious malcontent...he related events in the post below calmly, with a sense of underlying wit.

His mannerisms were urbane and his speech courteous. I doubt he would have openly conversed about his experiences with someone not genuinely interested and engaged.

The conversation would not have the same impact if Sy was an angry, sue-the-restaurant-that-gives-me-hot-coffee-when-I-spill-it-on-myself type of guy.

I'd be willing to be most docs, nurses, CNAs, patient advocates, etc. have a few Patient Xs hiding somewhere in their subconscious history.

For whatever reason, these patients had such a deep impact that the memory of them drives our 'calling' home when the going gets tough.

Sy is now one of mine.

2. It was Sy's seeming resignation to the state of elder care and age discrimination (intentional or underlying) that made our talk so troubling.

Have you ever verbally or nonverbally questioned a patient's decision to undergo treatment (chemo, surgical intervention, etc.) based on their age?

Somewhere way back in the brainpan have you thought "Hey, I would never undergo that treatment at that age, why risk it?" or, worse yet, "The risks just can't be worth it at his/her age." I have.

Improvement starts with cleaning house. The next step is the addition of a cleansing agent, such as a volunteer advisory board or committee to address agism and compose guidelines for how to treat those in the "55+ Alive" demographic.

If anyone wants to extend an invitation to Sy, I know this little coffee place he frequents...

Recruiting a committee takes a bit of time, but there is something you can do tonight - check out AARPs mag. It's a must-read - I'm always impressed by the content's utility and presentation.

Erickson Retirement also has a nifty channel,
Retirement Living TV, dedicated to the late-great set - here's a quick description. Some programming is available online...find out if you can view shows on your TV at home here.

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