Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

'People just can't imagine what it's like to be old'

  • Comment

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?

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.