Healthcare professionals will find their interactions with older adults guided by the requirements and responsibilities of their specific practice field. Elders and their care is an infinitely complex topic, as complex as the members of its group. Certain topics will be directly relevant to some while only tangentially relevant to others. Professional need will ultimately draw some much deeper into particular topics. But everyone will be affected by the need to broaden and deepen their perceptions of what it means to age and to be an older adult, whether we call that senior or elder or older or geriatric.
There is a call out there to view aging and those who are already older in a different way and to realize part of the reason to do so is that we are all aging—we are all going to be older adults eventually. In order to see ourselves aging in a healthy way, respected for what we know and can still do, and able to make decisions about where to live and what kind of care we want, we must start thinking of the already old in the same way.
That new perspective can guide everything from public policy decisions to the way we greet our next older patient. We can resolve to help them deal with today’s very complex healthcare environment and to see how they can get the most out of it.