Tanya Semcesen A face to face interview was held with Mr. C. Mr. C. is an 82-year-old African American male. Physically looking at the interviewee he does not look that age at all he looks like he is in his early sixties.
Questions & Answers
Q-How old are you? A-I am 82 years old.
Q-When will you be 83? A-I will be 83 in mid-July
Q-Are you married? A-I am a widow and have been for almost 53 years.
Q-Do you have children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren? A-Yes I do. I had three children, eight grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren.
Q-Do you live alone? A-No I do not, my youngest son lives with me.
Q-Tell me a little about your background? A-I was born in the south and raised in the north by an aunt. Both of my parents died when they were fairly young. My mother at 56 and my father at 42. They were both ill the reason for their passing. I graduated high school at age 17. I am a retired restaurant worker for 21 years now.
Q-What are no most memorable experiences that you have had?
A-The most memorable experiences that I have had are a few good ones. My marriage is one, the birth of my children and grandchildren, and buying my own home.
Q-What is the most significant of life’s events for you? A-The death of my wife the mother of my three children, the death of my oldest son, my parents, and the death of my domestic partner was another significant stressful event for me.
Q-If you had the opportunity to change anything would you and what would that be? A-Of course I would change the passing of my family members besides that it would be the type of job that I choose and when.
I would have to choose one that gave me better financial security and job happiness. Part II: Senior Citizen Developmental History There is a saying that says “once a child twice a man”. There a many stages in the development of the human lifep. In middle and late adulthood people tend to look at things from quite a different perspective as they reflect back on the journey of life. This paper and reflective interview will address the many developmental histories of a senior citizen. Mr. C. is an 82-year-old African American who lives along with his adult son.
Mr. C. is a widow who had fathered three children one of whom is deceased. Mr. C is the oldest of five children who are all males. He was born in Virginia and raised in New York since he was age 13 with his aunt. He has been living in New York since then. He was educated in New York’s city public school system where he graduated high school at the age of 17. Married at age 27 and widowed at age 30. Mr. C. ’s father died at age 42 making Mr. C 15 years of age and at the passing of his mother, he was 36 years old his mother was 56.
Mr. C. never remarried he really never got over the death of his wife and children’s mother. Mr. C. lost his oldest son when the son was 27 years old. Mr. C. was in a domestic partnership many years after the death of his wife. After multiple years in the domestic partnership yet again he was faced with another death, the death of her. Chronologically Mr. C is 82 and is an imperfect indicator of his functional age. Mr. C looks like he is in his sixties. People age biologically at different rates Mr. C.
Mr. C was so gracious to disclose his medical status with me. He is a survivor of prostate cancer, his cancer has been in remission on and off for 12 years. He suffers from congestive heart failure which he developed a few years ago. Not an indication of heart disease at all genetics and environment play a big role in the aging process and disease. During the duration of the interview when speaking about the deaths of his family members Mr. C. became a little emotional and seem to drift back into time a moment of reminiscence is what I think he was doing, trying to relive those moments in time. I asked him how he felt about their deaths. He responded by saying that he came to terms with it and that he was powerless over what had happened and that everyone has an appointment with God and his faith is what sustains him to carry on every day. According to the events that individuals define as stressful and how they cope with these events change across the lifep.
Starting in late adolescence, the ability to reconstrue negative experiences as positive develops, but it is not until young adulthood that this experienced wisdom is translated into a touchstone for coping with future situations. The most surprising response in the interview process was the interviewee’s ability to remain powerless and come to terms with death. He spoke about what he wanted his son and daughter to do when the time came when he passed on in this life, He accepts death and knows that it is inevitable that it cannot be avoided no matter who you are.
He keeps his faith in God to help deal with the end of life situations. Religious affiliations and psychological aids are helpful in handling depression and may improve the quality of life of aging individuals. The birth of his children and grandchildren played a major part in the interviewee’s life. While interviewing he always said family first. I gathered the impression that he is a very family orientated person. In the bedrooms, living room, and hallway of the interviewee’s apartment are pictures of all family members, recent and the throwbacks that are what the younger generation calls old pictures. A different demeanor hovers over the interviewee when he shows me family pictures and speaks about his family. I sense it brings him back to his more youthful days, days where he was the ruler of full independence. I asked Mr. C. did he belong to any senior citizens centers and his reply was no and he further elaborated for me. He wanted to be around younger people, not people his age that constantly reminded him of what reality was indeed about but to feel vivacious for if only a moment when youth was on his side.
He stated that is why he loved his daughter to bring her youngest grandchild over. He loved the sound of the baby especially when he heard it cry it reminded him of youthfulness and independence. Aging is inevitable; becoming wiser with age is not. Researchers, theorists, and clinicians have noted that older adults approach their lives in one of two ways: Either they draw on their strengths and live life to the fullest, or they magnify their weaknesses and restrict their lives to succumb to life’s inevitable end. From listening to stories about when Mr. C. as much younger and able to take full control of his independence that making the transition from young adult and middle adult to the latter being late adulthood was the hardest to come to terms with and accept fully. Hot cocoa was made for me and coffee was made for him by none other but Mr. C. I offered but that was not an option he insisted upon doing so. He maneuvered around his home with no assistance from anyone and when I attempted to do so he refused. I see that he is like a person with a special need and you opt to do it or help them respond by simply saying they can do it.
He spoke about being able to do chores around his home that he no longer could do, his failing eyesight and the need for a therapeutic bed, he has difficulty getting up from lying flat. No longer being able to reach items that are on his top shelf in the kitchen cabinets was a hindrance at one time Mr. C. uses ingenious items to help around his home with activities of daily living. Self-efficacy allows one to develop and carry out a plan of action, allowing for a sense of competency. His cognitive skills are on point and sharp and he held on to the conversation that he and I shared for quite some time for a senior citizen his age. The second premise of successful aging is maximizing high physical and cognitive functioning, with these two factors partnering to optimize overall functioning. Physical function is maintained with moderate exercise and a network of support from family and friends. Cognitive function can be sustained with mental exercises and active engagement through conversation. The most valuable information that I received from this interview is to make sure that I take care of myself health-wise, choose a career that I get satisfaction from, and live life like it is golden. Do what I want to do like life is a bucket list. At the end, when life is almost near the end you hold no regrets.
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