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updated version of Senior Citizen Interview

Topics: Old age, Gerontology / Pages: 4 (1157 words) / Published: Aug 15th, 2015
Senior Citizen Interview
Amanda DiBenedetto
PSY 375
June 29, 2015
Rockel Etienne
Senior Citizen Interview
In today 's world, we have a very large demographical shift in population. This is especially true for the U.S. because of the baby boom from WWII. And because of this demographical shift there are older adults in our midst. If today’s society just took the time to sit and listen to our older generation then they would realize what they have to offer. For this week’s assignment, I had the privilege of sitting down with my neighbor to question her about her aging process. For an hour, I questioned my neighbor about her personal life, family, friends, interest, and activities. The interview was amusing and informative. It gave great insight into the world of a senior citizen. My neighbor did give me permission to use her first name for this assignment, and she will be referred to as Maria. In the next following sections, I will discuss any notable and surprising aspects from my interview with Maria. Plus, I will discuss Maria’s overall functioning at her age. And at the end of this paper I will discuss what I have learned from this interview with Maria.
Notable and Surprising Aspects from the Interview While conducting the interview, I was surprised by Maria 's openness to indulge me with her life experiences. She was very open and willing to tell me pretty much anything about her life. And Maria was very in tune and aware of everything that was going. Plus, she was able to recall past events that occurred years ago. I found all of this to be very surprising because I had a preprogrammed notion that she should have been responding differently to my questions. This perceived notion is largely due to our understanding of gerontology and ageism (Berger, 2011). At a young age, we are all taught that older people are slower, forgetful, fragile and need extra attention because depression is very common with older people. I found none of this to be true with Maria. She was very happy with her lifestyle, and she had a lot going for her. Plus, she was very open with the fact that her husband and her we both still sexually active. Again, I was very surprised with her comment because the sexual activity does decline with age (Berger, 2011). Maria showed no signs of stopping or changing her lifestyle due to age. Our society is very big on telling the elderly that they need to take it easy and be careful of physical activity because their bodies are weakening. This may be true for some people who have weak immune systems and bones, but it is not true for all.
Overall Functioning of Participant After listening to Maria relay the events from her past and present, I concluded that she has successfully aged. Maria has stayed very active through her senior years and doesn’t show any signs of stopping. She is in good standings both mentally and physically. And she lives a productive life with her husband of 47 years. They both go to salsa classes and NASCAR races during NASCAR season. Plus, Maria is constantly socializing with friends and family through means of bingo and family functions. For example, Maria has weekly Sunday night dinners with her children and grandkids. Plus, her grandkids are frequently visiting her. This type of support is very positive on Maria’s process of aging. According to Berger, being surrounded by emotional support from one’s children is better than being supported financially (2011). Plus, much of Maria’s activities aid her with her aging process. For instance, to keep her mind active she reads and stays in tune with current events. Plus, I see no social issues for Maria because she is very involved with her family and community. This is displayed by her volunteer work at her local elementary school. Furthermore, Maria is still able to transport herself using driving. This type of ability displays great mental and physical health for her age group because of her capabilities of independence (Berger, 2011; Potkanowicz, Hartman-Stein, & Biermann, 2009). Although, Maria does not live in a retirement community she is still displaying a healthy physical and social environment that encourages activity and feelings of well-being (Masotti, Fick, Johnson-Masotti, & MacLeod, 2006). Whatever she is doing is working for her and benefiting her aging process.
Conclusion
To conclude, I learned many things from this interview with Maria. Before this assignment was conducted, I barely knew Maria. She was just my next store neighbor who I would talk to every so often. And by conducting this interview I gained a different perspective on life and was privileged to gain a new friendship as well. Maria, who is 67 years old, was very humorous, insightful, and full of life. She went into detail about her past experiences and was open about her regrets and accomplishments in life. She told me things about her children and they seemed very involved with her life. And for her age she is well off and is doing quite well physically and mentally. For some individuals that are not always the case. There are some individuals out there who have no one, or their health is in poor condition. What Maria offered me was an insight into how my life might look once I reach my senior years. As long as I stay on the right path I will be able to enjoy my senior years in peace. Plus, she taught me to look forward to my senior years, not fear them. And she gave me some key pointers on how to build a successful relationship with my significant other because she has been married for 47 years. This interview helped break the typical stereotypes that I have learned about elderly people. This can be referred to as ageism, a time when we judge someone based off of their age (Berger, 2011). Maria does not let her age get in the way; she makes do with what she has, and she does a great job of taking care of herself and others. Overall, this interview allowed me to develop a better appreciation for Maria and her views on life.

References
Berger, K. S. (2011). The developing person through the life span (8th ed.). New York, NY: Worth Publishers.
Hartman-Stein, P. E., & Potkanowicz, E. S. (2003). Behavioral Determinants of Healthy Aging: Good News for the Baby Boomer Generation. Online Journal Of Issues In Nursing, 8(2), 127-146.
Masotti, P. J., Fick, R., Johnson-Masotti, A., & MacLeod, S. (2006). Healthy naturally occurring retirement communities: A low-cost approach to facilitating healthy aging. American Journal of Public Health, 96 (7), 1164-1170.
Potkanowicz, E. S., Hartman-Stein, P., & Biermann, J. S. (2009). Behavioral Determinants of Health Aging Revisited: An Update on the Good News for the Baby Boomer Generation. Online Journal Of Issues In Nursing, 14(3), 11.

References: Berger, K. S. (2011). The developing person through the life span (8th ed.). New York, NY: Worth Publishers. Hartman-Stein, P. E., & Potkanowicz, E. S. (2003). Behavioral Determinants of Healthy Aging: Good News for the Baby Boomer Generation. Online Journal Of Issues In Nursing, 8(2), 127-146. Masotti, P. J., Fick, R., Johnson-Masotti, A., & MacLeod, S. (2006). Healthy naturally occurring retirement communities: A low-cost approach to facilitating healthy aging. American Journal of Public Health, 96 (7), 1164-1170. Potkanowicz, E. S., Hartman-Stein, P., & Biermann, J. S. (2009). Behavioral Determinants of Health Aging Revisited: An Update on the Good News for the Baby Boomer Generation. Online Journal Of Issues In Nursing, 14(3), 11.

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