I remember clearly visiting a patient who was about to turn 100 years old.
Pain started in her right knee a few days before, and wasn’t getting much better.
I asked what she thought was causing it.
What do you expect at my age? I’m not getting any younger.
How’s your left knee?
Fine, why do you ask?
Just wondering why that knee doesn’t hurt too. Isn’t it the same age as your right knee?
She smiled and understood what I meant. I suggested a mild pain reliever, warm soaks to the painful knee, and rest. By the next week, she was back to baseline.
Think about it. Often. I do. It keeps me on the right track when I try to help my older patients.
Don’t sell older people short. There is always something that can be done to help an older person lead a happier, more functional life, even in extreme old age.