In order to be of therapeutic help to geriatric patients, one should keep in mind certain fundamental needs of the elderly person, among which the following stand out: (1) the need to have worthwhile and purposeful daily activities; (2) a general feeling of worthiness: the need to be needed; (3) the need to be cared for appropriately if physical weakness, infirmities, and ailments are present, and (4) the basic need of being loved by others.
If these basic needs are not filled, geriatric patients frequently become apathetic, lose interest in themselves and their environment, and may present the clinical picture of the aimlessly idling "inmate" of a geriatric ward who "just sits there," or, at the most, rocks his chair. Although much can be done in terms of occupational and group therapy, as has been demonstrated by other workers (Corcoran,1 Lichtenberg,2 Linden,3 Ross,4 Silver,5
KOSBAB FP, KOSBAB ME. A Buddy System for Hospitalized Geriatric Patients. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1962;7(2):135-139. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1962.01720020059010