A futuristic boiler suit is helping medical students in Germany feel what it’s like to be old.
Step inside and all at once your movement becomes laboured, fingers inflexible, breathing laboured and hearing impaired.
But what I want to know is, what happened to good old-fashioned empathy?
Is it that impossible to put yourself in the shoes of someone who’s older that Berlin’s Evangelical Geriatrics Centre needed to create a suit specifically to emulate old age?
But maybe they’re onto something. Maybe that’s why today’s horror stories exist – because people just can’t imagine what it’s like to be old.
When you’re in your teens you think thirty-somethings are ancient and when you reach middle age you balk at the thought of growing old and wrinkly.
But is this lack of empathy for older people out of our control or are we consciously resisting?
Thinking yourself into the shoes of someone who’s close to death brings to mind thoughts of your own mortality. So maybe we do need it forced upon us.
Do you think such experiments could be useful for nurses?
Should student nurses experience this suit to be able to better relate to their older patients?
What do you think?