Aging Parents and Hospitals: “Thank You” May Be Your Best Ally

 In medical situations where we’re dependent on others
and have no control, “thank you” may be our best ally.

Really sick people, especially aging parents, make us sad, stressed and dependent on smart professionals to address our parents’ needs. Reactions to serious family health issues and how we navigate the emotional roller coaster obviously vary. One size never fits all. Yet there’s one constant that’s a win-win for aging parents, health care professionals and their support people, and us–

Showing appreciation for the hard work of those who do healthcare

Conveying appreciation needn’t be a huge, expensive effort. That said, it’s so easy to get consumed by our emotions that we don’t think much beyond ourselves and getting our parents the necessary care as quickly as possible. And some of us may not even realize we aren’t as nice as we should be in emergency-type situations. We can’t help it. We’re worried, we’re scared. Psychology Today calls stress a “reaction to a stimulus that disturbs our physical or mental equilibrium.”

If we take a few seconds to think about the tough situations urgent care and emergency room staffs deal with, and then think about the care our hospitalized elders receive on the “getting-well” floors, from (sometimes it seems understaffed) nurses and the team of workers who assist them, we understand how a sincere “thank you” to those who merit it means a great deal.

We all need to feel valued. Praise gives us a lift, makes us happier as we do our ordinary or extra-ordinary jobs. And all workers appreciate a “pat on the back”–from the custodians who keep the hospitals sanitary and clean to the physicians who are curing or correcting our elders’ health issues. And they probably do their job with more gusto and even pay more attention to our aging parents, when they know someone recognizes their work and cares enough to say “thank you.”

I remember the feeling when I received sincere thank you notes–sometimes on a piece of notebook paper–from my counselees following help with a problem. And I remember how much I loved it if someone thought enough to bring me cookies they’d baked. Who can resist something delicious!

And I will never forget seeing the red-headed senior who was often in minor trouble, waiting outside my office the week after graduation when counselors were still working–with flowers in his hand. He was blushing as he handed me the flowers and said (as I recall) short and sweet– “Thank you, I know I was a lot of trouble.”

From these teenagers I learned how meaningful a “thank you” or expression of gratitude can be to working people. And so this week, as my husband has undergone surgery to replace two heart valves, I have offered many “thank you’s” –plus some chocolate chip cookies–to the nursing staff and those who assist them. I hope they experience that special feeling, that shot in the arm ((excuse the pun) that comes with knowing they’re truly appreciated. That should benefit their patients too.

3 thoughts on “Aging Parents and Hospitals: “Thank You” May Be Your Best Ally

  1. It costs nothing to say a simple “Thank you”. But I’m sorry to say that some people behave as if they are owed the kind services of people in critical positions in the medical field. We can only hope that appreciative people outnumber the ‘jerks’!

  2. Hope all is going well…….and NY hospitals and drs are as good as projected. Note blog…..we used to have box of Sees candy in room. So nurses would come in more often…never made cookies but never got up as early as you.

    Sent from my iPad

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