A patient did not want to leave the hospital. Since she was elderly no one actually wanted to force her out.

Fully made up, she would sing at the top of her lungs to get someone in the room when she wanted something. A young male doctor is sent into her room and they have a conversation as to why she won’t leave.

The patient tells him that her daughter is having a room redone for her and it will be done soon and THEN she will leave the hospital.  Through a series of events Sophie (I think that’s her name) stays in the hospital until her daughter arrives.  Her daughter who, incidentally, is not happy.

Arrangements had been made for mom to go to a local nursing home and not to the daughter’s house. The doctor once again explains to the patient that she must leave the hospital and asks why she won’t leave.

The Fear of Growing OLD Makes Us Feel Vulnerable

The patient’s response: I know I am elderly. People in the nursing home are old and I am afraid I will grow old there.

If this sounds familiar then you watch one of the same television programs that I do.  It is probably more accurate than we can imagine though.

Ok, I know the part about a hospital allowing a patient to stay longer than necessary is probably a bit unrealistic.

But the fear?

The uncertainty that so many people feel?  I’m pretty sure it is exactly right.

I learned that even at 92 years old, you can feel vulnerable. Dad is the youngest of 10 children and just lost his last living brother who was 98. He sees his wife and many other friends and family dying. What must go through his head? But, his faith sees him through, one day at a time.  Kathy Saul

That statement came from a friend who lost her mom this past year. It came in response to an email in which I asked her how she was doing. I thought it was beautifully written and succinct so I asked permission to share it here.

I’ve written a few times about the elderly. One post can be found here and another here in case you missed them.

As the story from the beginning of the post and Kathy’s comment both illustrate the elderly often feel vulnerable.  I think, on some level, we all do in certain situations.

Offering Hope By Listening To Those Who Feel Vulnerable

Sometimes there is no “fixing” the circumstances but in those times a listening ear goes a long way.

In the television episode the young doctor assures the patient she will never be “old”.  That would remain to be seen but for that moment she regained the glint in her eye and a look of hope.

By the same token I assured Kathy that she is a great daughter and is doing what she can to make her Dad’s life as good as possible.

Being aware of another person’s situation and taking the time to listen can make a world of difference, can’t it?



One comment

  1. Jill says:

    Thank you for digging into the reason for so much fear: vulnerability.
    To lose all control over even the most basic activities – waiting for someone to wheel you to meals or waiting for someone to help you go to the bathroom – leads to not only helplessness, but ultimately to hopelessness, also.

Leave a Reply