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I interviewed a senior citizen named Debbie. Debbie is 57 years old and was born in Lynchburg, Virginia. She was raised with two other siblings. She has two brothers and she is the oldest of the three. Debbie attended school for thirteen years completing elementary school and high school followed by four years of college. Debbie graduated college with a degree in Elementary Education. Her various occupations over the past years have ranged from a caretaker of small children, homemaker, Sunday school teacher, and general managers of different business.
She is currently the general manager of a self storage facility in the town she resides in. Debbie is not currently married, but she has two children, girl and a boy, and has five grandchildren. Debbie helps take care of her elderly mother who currently lives with her. Debbie also has two dogs that are five years of age and four months of age. Debbie’s is currently not affiliated with any organizations at this present time in her life.
Debby’s childhood was quite average and could be viewed as most of the childhood’s today, Debbie grew up in a moderate income family and neighborhood. Debbie grew up in a small house that her father built and was suitable for her entire family. Debbie’s father worked as a carpenter and a milkman and her mother worked as a registered nurse. Debbie’s family would celebrate all of the traditional holidays such as Christmas, Easter, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and birthdays.
As a child Debby was active in many sports. For example, she played baseball, volleyball, and soccer. As a child Debbie had a lot of responsibilities that she had to maintain while her parents were at work. Her responsibilities consisted of watching her younger brothers. Debbie cooked , bathed, and cleaned up after them on a consistent
basis. All of Debbie’s schooling took place in Virginia and she feels that school then was completely different in today’s society.
The reason for this is because children today are learning things much earlier than she did and are more advanced in certain areas. As for discipline, Debbie said if she misbehaved growing up she would receive a verbal warning from her parents. She stated that when she was growing up she knew better than to disrespect her parent unlike kids do in this generation. As a child growing up, Debbie knew how important it was to use manner and proper etiquette, especially when it pertained to showing respect to her elders. Debbie’s Early Adulthood Years
Debbie got married at the age of 20 to her first husband. She had her children in this marriage. Debbie was terrified of the man that she married. Her husband had a very bad alcohol problem. He never displayed this when they were dating, therefore Debbie thought that he was the perfect candidate to marry. He promised her things that he never fulfilled and he basically played her for a fool.
He would stay out all night and come home drunk and beat Debbie and her children. He was not only physically abusive to them, but he was also mentally and verbally abusive to them as well. Debbie also caught her husband in numerous affairs during their marriage. She was scared to leave him because he threatened to kill her if she did. He was very controlling over her in my opinion. Debby’s husband was a very controlling man and did not allow her to have friends or associate with anyone besides the people in the church. Today Debbie is able to socialize with various people. Research has proven that senior citizens who have friends in his or her life live longer and have a healthier lifestyle (Grief, 2010). Also, according to other literature men seem to have trouble establishing friendships more than a woman does (Grief, 2010). According to this literature, women who do not have any friends will be experiencing various forms of depression (Grief, 2010).
During this time in Debbie’s life, she did experience depression because she was not allowed to have friends and she did not have anyone to confine in during this scary time in her life. Her husband did not supply the proper amount of food for her and the kids. He would not allow her to get a job to support her kids. At this time in Debbie’s life, she felt alone and terrified of this man. She attended church and raised her children up in church. However, her husband refused to go to church with her and the children. She taught as a Sunday school teacher to young children in her church. Time to time Debbie would babysit children to make some money to support her children
After being married to this man for 16 years. Debbie finally found the courage that she needed to take a stand against this man. She went and got a job at a department store where she became a manager in a sort period of time. When Debbie had finally saved enough money to leave her husband, she packed her stuff and kids with her and has not looked back. Debbie stated that during this time in her life it was hard because her children kept rebelling against her. In return this made it difficult to care for them being a single parent. Debbie learned from this experience that she had the power, strength, and courage to leave her husband the whole time. However, she did not believe in herself that she could do it until one day enough was enough and she realized that she wanted more out of her life. Debbie’s Middle Adulthood Years
After being divorced from her first husband for five years, Debbie continued to work and provide for her children. In between this time she met her second husband who was much older than she was. Debbie was in her thirties when she married her husband and he was in his sixties. Debbie stated that the age difference and the fact that she was involved with another man did not go well with her children. Her children did not like the man she married and rebelled against her completely. This caused hardships in her relationships with her children. Over the years of her marriage to her second husband she continued to work and take care of the needs of her husband. One day they found out that he was diagnosed with cancer and this changed her life dramatically. Her husband husband was in and out of the hospital, she continued to work, and raise her children who were teenagers now. One day Debbie’s world was changed when her second husband took his final breath in her presence.
The death of her husband was very hard on Debbie, but she felt peace when he passed because she claims she felt the presence of the Lord wrap his arms around her and comfort her. According to Debbie this was the main significant life even that she encountered at the age of 40. She stated that at this time in her life she believed that God put her and him together for a reason. She believed that he took care of her and showed her the respect and love that she did not receive from her first marriage. Debbie said out of all three of her marriages, she valued her second one the most. This is because he never mistreated, abused, or mislead her in anyway. As time went by Debbie met her third husband who she is not currently married to any longer, but are still close friends. Debbie said that these two just had nothing in common and it was in the best interest of them both to get a divorce.
Throughout the course of their marriage, Debbie talked about all the good times that they had with one another. For example, the trips that they would take to Florida. Both of her children liked this man very much. So as far as her children giving her a difficult time about him never happened. They enjoyed being in his company. Since the divorce of her third husband, Debbie does not have the desire to be involved with a man at the current time. This is because she is currently working to save money for retirement and she takes care of her elderly mother. During this interview, I asked Debbie if she could change one thing about herself what would it be and why.
She replied she would have made better choices when it came to spouses. This is because she believed that she put in all the effort and received nothing back in return. She also said she would have left her first husband earlier if she could have found the courage to do so. Debbie’s favorite place to vacation is Williamsburg, Virginia. This is because she is able to spend time with her daughter and grandchildren during this time of the year. Other fond memories that Debbie reflects throughout her childhood and middle adulthood years include spending the summer at her grandmother’s house, traveling to the Smokey Mountains with her parents, having her children, watching them grow into adults, and the times that she cherishes today spending time with both of her elderly parents because she realizes that they will not be around much longer. Other Topics of Discussion
Throughout this interview, other topics we discussed as well. For example, the transition going from middle adulthood to a senior citizen was difficult for her. This is because Debbie realizes that she is not the person that she used to be. She does not look the same and she does not feel the same either. She claims that it is very difficult for her to get to and from places because her body aches. Another difficult transition that she encountered was going from a happy and social person to being a scared and depressed person during her first marriage. The trauma that she encountered during her first marriage turned her into a bitter and angry person. However, throughout the years after her divorce she was able to find herself and experience love with her second marriage. The question of ole age and health problems came up in this interview.
Debby says that the only thing she is concerned with is having a mental disorder as she ages. I did research on this topic and concluded the word known as Senility. Senility is known as a physical or mental weakness that is associated with old age (Davis, 2010). another term associated with this topic is Psychosis of Senility. Psychosis of Senility is a mental disorder in ole age (Pennick, 2004) This disorder is followed by Dementia, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s. Debbie said the only thing that she ever regretted throughout her life was continuing to stay married to her first husband. Debbie says that she tends to live by the Golden Rule and always have throughout her life. She believes that she should treat other with respect just as she would like to be treated back.
The topics that Debbie responded to more strongly involved the abuse of her first husband and the death of her second husband. This is because she showed different emotions while discussing both. She was fidgety while talking about her first marriage and she started crying when the death of her second husband was discussed. As the interviewer, I personally believe that Debbie is not completely over both of these topics. The reason that I say this is because she gets very emotional over both of these tragedies that she encountered throughout her middle adulthood years.
None of Debbie’s responses during the interview surprised me at all. However, I did come to realize that by her words and actions she still holds resentment, anger, and hatred to her first husband and loved everything about her second husband. Debbie did not go into much details regarding her final husband. The way that I viewed this is she nothing negative to say about him. In regards to what I learned from Debbie’s life is to always value your family, friends, put God first in all a person does, and not to take life for granted. We are here only for a short period of time so we as individuals need to do what is right and live accordingly to what god has prepared for us to do on this earth. Conclusion
In conclusion, this interview and report covered questions, answers, and examples that was provided by Debbie. Also included in this report was notable aspects, surprising aspects, and what I learned from this specific interview.
Davis. F. A. (2010), Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary, Philadelphis, PA Grohol, J. (2011). Mental Health Needs of Older Americans. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 29, 2013, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2011/05/02/mental-health-needs-of-older-americans/ Penick, J. M. (2004). Purposeful aging: Teleological perspectives on the development of social interest in late adulthood. Journal of Individual Psychology, 60 (3), 219. Retrieved on September 29, 2013, from http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.apollolibrary.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=15266351&site=ehost-live
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