Old age and slowly progressing diseases

Diabetes, arthrosis, outcomes of badly healed fractures and disorders consequent to surgical interventions, digestive disorders, sluggish and/or irritable bowel, minor symptoms and alarming symptoms awaiting diagnosis.
There are many possible events, which sometimes overlap: in part, these ‘meetings’ highlight personality, the character the patient has formed in the course of his life.

Personality, an essential instrument, even more than intelligence and culture, may turn out to be a vitally useful resource or a limit, sometimes so serious that it can invalidate any attempt to help.

It is almost unrealistic to think one can re-educate an elderly person, even though sometimes relatives, caregivers and doctors invest huge amounts of energy in a project which, mostly, will devour them without bringing any advantage, at times even provoking very ‘vicious’ reactions, derived from frustration and feelings of helplessness.

Less common is the ability to bring to light those constructive resources which are still available in the patient and, with these and various strategic expedients, to try and organize a plan of care and therapy able to mediate between needs which are sometimes in contrast with each other (laziness and need for physiotherapy; impulsive greediness and diabetes; need to be a priority in the minds of offspring and caregivers, but systematically abusing their patience; need to take medication following dosage and timing, but taking them at random, therefore missing or repeating doses).

Many apparently mysterious and worrying problems are clarified during hospitalization, when a constantly observed patient reveals, besides needs and illnesses, the character with which they face everyday life.
Sometimes this is the problem of problems, and the art of therapeutic assistance in such cases is either put through tough tests or it may be greatly appreciated.