Aging/Gerontology, Healthcare

I Am Old: Can You See Me?

I am old, can you see me?

 Hola a tod@s, my dear friends.

Adding to collaborate with IC-HU Project two new friends, Vera Santos y Estefanía Martín of the Spanish Association of Psychogerontology. We invite you to navigate through their website, full of resources and training, projects, courses, news, and even  job offers! 
It is essential to continue to build networks that contribute to create awareness and collaboration. As all of you know, more than 45% of people admitted to the ICU are over 65 years old. So I asked them to write a post about our elders, and here it is. I am convinced that you’ll be pleased and that will make you think. Thank you and welcome to IC-HU Project.

“Youth, as social value predominantly in our society attached to the force and extension of the stereotypes about old age, can guide us as healthcare providers to see only a body crumpled and aged that we should cure or which we have to wait because there is nothing to do. But what about the person? Are we accompanying and serving people who live in aged and sick bodies?


The person is not the body. The person feels and lives here and now. His/her life story continues to write at this very moment and the quality will depend largely on the relationship we establish with them. The human being is scheduled for emotional contact and emotional bonding from birth to death. However, when old age knocks at our door, culture, stained myths, and false beliefs, contradicts the nature of our species.

“He is so old that he can´t feel or suffer.” “Do not complicate, she is very old and hardly feels.” “I don’t think that the family is too affected. He is very old.” “The best is admitting on the guard, because of his age there is little to do.” “The patient and the family know largely that she is so old that we can do nothing more than wait.”

All these thoughts make that as professionals and citizens, we deploy a series of biased actions or omissions that contribute to the older person to increase their volume of suffering by identification with these messages: “I have no right to feel, I am old. I am a nuisance.” “I don’t want to bother.” “Too much work I’m giving.” “I’m a burden.” “Now, why complain.” “Nobody worries.” “Nobody cares as I am.”

To remove all this, it is necessary from others, emotional embrace because it is what pushes us to be free, and thus feel reality as it comes. It makes us free to live and die with dignity, away from loneliness.

Emotional embrace should be essential ingredients empathy, tuning, involvement, the presence, communication skills, and flexibility of the time. Embrace emotional, generous, should be extended to families, because they also need us and if we are able to accommodate them we can promote both the care they give to their dear ill relative.

Let us make the sense of our profession depend on the sense of the lives of the people we serve and not only of their bodies (aged or not) or diseases. Let us make our profession an opportunity of relationship and meaning.

Is there something more beautiful than being treated “as we are” until the end of our days?

*Re-posted with permission from Gabi Heras, Intensive Care Physician from: