A Geriatric Mentor 4.97/5 (29)

My geriatric acupuncture mentor

I just completed a 10 year geriatric acupuncture mentorship with a man who never knew anything about acupuncture, yet he taught me so much. My heart hurts today, but my heart and soul are so grateful for the experience. Let me tell you our story…

In 2010 he showed up for the very first time at my clinic with a HOPE that I could help him with chronic shoulder pain. I was fresh out of college and didn’t have a lot of acupuncture experience. 

He Believed in Me

Not only was I a new acupuncturist, I was also a new AcuGraph user at the time. As with all new AcuGraph users, my graphing skills were not all that great. Take a look below. 

  • See all those splits? It’s very typical for a new AcuGraph user to have a lot of splits when they first begin their journey. It’s okay. The patient doesn’t really know any different. 
  • In this case, he was impressed with both me and the technology and he kept coming back. 
  • Lesson here: Patients think AcuGraph is cool, even if you are a new user!

He didn’t have his first acupuncture session until he was 83. Little did he or I know that we’d meet together 130 times over the next decade. He came in for pain, but once we got his pain under control, he learned the value of acupuncture as a healthy lifestyle choice—which led to continued acupuncture care month after month, after month…

I Learned a Geriatric Specialty

As the years progressed, I treated him for “all the geriatric stuff” that comes up if you are blessed to live a long life. His graph wasn’t always pretty. He’d have his ups and his downs with health issues along the way. 

But here’s what made his golden years so much better… While he continued to see his regular doctors, he always included acupuncture as an adjunct therapy. 

I’m Going to Miss this Guy

When his wife called me to let me know that he had passed, we did a little reminiscing. She thanked me for taking care of her husband all these years. He loved acupuncture. She told me that each month when he came for his session it was like he was going to a party. This was my favorite quote…

“He must have told me—and everyone else—at least 100 times
that the secret to his longevity was monthly acupuncture.”

my geriatric acupuncture mentor


The greater gift was MINE. We had many tender moments together. I’m filled with gratitude for a beautiful journey. I gained so much wisdom about life, pain, courage, compassion, humor, prayer, faith, and LOVE from this beautiful man. 

If you are ever blessed with the incredible opportunity to spend
130 hours of your career mentoring with a geriatric patient,
I highly recommend it!

Your life will be greatly blessed. 

  • The end will be bittersweet. 
  • You will cry. 
  • Your heart will ache when it’s over—but the lessons you learn will be priceless. 

Godspeed to my friend. Thank you for the journey.

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Dr. Kimberly Thompson, DACM, L.Ac.

Dr. Kimberly Thompson, DACM, L.Ac. is a US licensed acupuncturist in the state of Idaho and certified in the treatment of acupuncture, Oriental medicine and Chinese herbology by the National Certification Commission of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). Kimberly wears multiple hats in the acupuncture community. She owns her private clinic, Meridian Family Acupuncture. She has spent the last 10 years working for Miridia Technology as an acupuncture Research Analyst–where she helps plan, develop, and integrate modern diagnostic and treatment tools for the ever-evolving scientific world of acupuncture. Kimberly is a world-renown teacher, blogger, columnist, and mentor in the acupuncture community.

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