In this paper we will be talking about my grandmother, she was born in 1944. She is a wonderful caring woman. She got married at 20 years old and had two children and was a stay at home mom her whole life and when her children had babies she helped and became a full time grandmother. She has lived a very simple happy life and she is a great person. I will be writing about my interview with her on late adult hood and her feelings on getting older.
First I began the interview by asking if she had any major health issues and if she had any observable changes in weight, strength, and physical functioning. She explained that as she gets older she definitely notices her strength gets less and less. She has many common conditions that come with age and she says it gets worse with age. She has diabetes, high blood pressure, thyroid disease. Her carpel tunnel and arthritis have gotten worse also but she said that her weight has relatively stayed the same with normal fluctuations.
We discussed about changes in sleep patterns. When she was younger she used to sleep a lot less and be fine. She said she would run on 6-7 hours of sleep. As she has gotten older she says she sleep a lot more and is tired more often she needs 9-10 hours of sleep now. Changes in memory are shown. She explained that most of the knowledge of your life and what you want to know is recorded and used up memory once you reach about 65 she says her basic memory of everyday has changed, “I can go into a room to get my coffee and then when I’m in the room forget what I went in the room for until I leave the room again and realize I don’t have my coffee.” Her strong point in memory has always been remembering voices and sounds such as; knowing characters of movies by their voices and recognize certain sounds or noises. Since her hearing has been fading over time she said that has weakened too.
She hasn’t had any issues with depression, anxiety, or dementia. She is always a very happy, mellow, sweet persona. According to Erik Erikson, primary psycho-social task of late adult hood (65+) is to maintain ego integrity (which is holding on to one’s sense of wholeness) while avoiding despair (which is fearing that there is too little time to begin a new life course). Wisdom is developed for those who succeed in the final task. They accept their life without major regrets of the life they have lived. Older adults may feel some despair as they contemplate their past. (Robert Kail- John Cavanaugh; Human Development, a life-span view, fifth edition) My grandmother has been successful to this stage for she is content with her life, has no despair, no regrets, and wouldn’t change her paths in life.
I asked her what roles her siblings played in late adult hood, she replied that she remained friends with them but they all have their own lives so as they grew older contact was less and they only saw each other every couple months or at family functions. Their relationship remained positive and they got along.
Sometimes it is difficult for her to get up but then once she is she has no problems standing and has been able to keep her independence. Her opinion on how she felt about aging was that no one likes to age, but it is part of life so she is fine with it. She has maintained many life-long relationships and has a hand full of close friends. Then we discussed how she felt about loss of family of friends. She explained that it is a very hard thing to do and there is really nothing you can do about it but live through it. She said you just have to still live your life get upset and cry but as the years go by it gets easier and easier. She lost her mother at 21 and it was really difficult for her to get over and still to this day has moments where she cries and really misses her. She believes that when someone dies if they haven’t done anything really bad and they truly are sorry for anything they may have done and ask for forgiveness then they will go to heaven and if not then they will go to the other side. She also believes that if someone has done something kind of bad but not really bad and won’t ask for forgiveness will wait in limber and not see anything.
When she was 14 she saw her grandfather that had passed away a couple weeks prior. She was feeding her pets when she turned around and he was standing there she had said “Daddy Jim, what are you doing up? Go lay down” Her mother said who are you talking to forgetting that he had passed away and when she said Daddy Jim again and turned back around he was gone. She said he was trying to tell them that her mother was going to get into an accident. They owned a restaurant near a train track and the pots and pans rattled off the walls without a train even going by. Shortly after she did get into an accident, but she survived. The last question I asked was what advice she would give a young person on how to live. Her response was to tell them to really think long and hard about what they want to do with their life and choose a path to where they can be self-sufficient no matter what and to get a job that they love doing but also will bring success and allow then to live comfortably when they retire.
In conclusion, late adult hood is like a conclusion of the story of your life. It is a reflection of how you see your life was lived. Some view it as positive and have learned a lot of wisdom, while others feel despair and anxiety that they have wasted a lot of their time and now they are running out of time with many unfinished goals. My grandmother is a very positive person and a great person to look up to. She always has great stories and words of wisdom. She is an example of someone who reflects on their life as being happy, optimistic, and feels accomplished by raising her children and helping with her grandchildren. She has made many strong life-long connections with people and developed many loved ones. She has succeeded with this stage of Erikson’s theory.
Dona J. Kenney (grandmother)
Robert Kail- John Cavanaugh; Human Development, a life-span view, fifth edition