The following is a poem inspired by comments I’ve heard from the generous women and men who volunteer as advisors to IHI’s Age-Friendly Health Systems team.
Dear doctors and nurses who have helped me stay healthy,
If my voice were louder
that is, if you better heard the voice of the patient who may walk more slowly than others to your exam room
You might hear me say I have seen many good days and also weeks — and sometimes months — of pain
And here we are in the COVID pandemic
I want you to hear me say
I am a leader in my community working to stay healthy: I wear my mask, I will remind others to do so too
Don’t make any assumptions about whether I do or do not have access to technology to connect with you
Value lives of people of all ages
We have a shared interest in avoiding COVID-19, so let’s find a way to do that
I contribute meaningfully to my family and community
It is difficult to walk around and move — I am doing my best
I am finding ways to act on What Matters to me
This can be a lonely time
Might you listen better too?