The purpose of this paper is to gain an insight into the aging process as told by someone who is considered an “older adult.” I interviewed a sixty-seven-year-old male. For this paper I will identify the older gentleman as Mr. R. to maintain his privacy. I interviewed Mr. R in his home as his sat in his recliner that he routinely sits in while reading scriptures from his Bible. Mr. R was born in Alice, Tx the youngest of twelve children.
Mr. R did not finish high school. He dropped out after completing the tenth grade because he needed to work full time to help his family. He has identified himself as a hardworking man. He has worked for most of his life entering the workforce at the age of fourteen. I asked Mr. R several questions about his view on aging.
I opened my interview asking Mr. R. about his thoughts on aging. Mr. R responded with, “Honestly, I don’t think about it.
I take each day one day at a time and I am ready for whatever the good Lord has to present me with.” Mr. R told me that he knows and accept that growing old is something that not everyone has the privilege of experiencing and he is, “one of the fortunate ones to have been given the time he has spent on this earth.” He explained to me that he is just trying to make the best of everyday that is given to him.
I asked Mr. R if he had any concerns about aging. He took a sigh and thought a bit but responded with, “I just hate that I can’t do the things I use to do when I was younger.” He told me that when he was a bit younger he would go to the store and see other people in wheelchairs or walking with canes and would often think if that would be him someday. He always worried that he would need some sort of assistance to get around. Now he walks with a cane due to some back issues he experienced from his time working hard labor and stated, “it’s not as bad as I thought it would be.”
When asked if his thoughts about aging have changed in the past twenty years he once again told me that since he doesn’t’ often think about it that much and his thoughts haven’t changed because he continues to try and not think about it. He told me that people need to not worry so much about the what ifs and just live their lives to the fullest.
I asked Mr. R how he felt about his current health status and he seemed to become a little excited. He smiled at me let me know that he has had his fair share of health issues. He has a family history of heart disease and diabetes and well he unfortunately did not evade them. But he did mention that he is in a much better place when it comes to his health. He told me his only real issue is his diabetes. He informed me that from where he started that just having one real issue was good. He wishes to continue to improve his health. He feels at peace with his current health status.
I asked Mr. R what strategies he has used to promote healthy aging and wellness and his immediate response was, “I drink lots of water!” He said drinking water has been an obstacle for him because as he puts it, “water has no flavor.” He says he tries to keep busy to try and make sure he can continue to remain mobile. He is also working on keeping his sugar levels down by monitoring his sugar intake. He told me that was hard for him because he loves his sweets.
When I asked Mr. R how his former years prepared him for aging, he told me that he thought since he worked mainly manual labor that he felt that helped m. He has always been active and because he never really sat around that it helped him age better than if he had not been active. He has worked mainly in construction and farming, but also has work experience in factory work and was a truck driver for a few years.
I asked Mr. R is he was satisfied with how his life has turned out so far and if he would change anything if he could. He told me that although he has had some challenges he wouldn’t change anything. As he stated, “Life is not perfect, we have dark and light times. But those experienced make us who we are. I am happy with my family, my children and my grandchildren.” We took time to look through some photo albums as he told me about his family.
When asked if growing older has changed his character, Mr. R laughed and told me, ‘I am sometimes a grumpy old man.” He said that he used to laugh a lot and makes jokes often, but he finds himself not joking around so much. Mr. R told me his wife tells him that he has become grumpy. He feels this could stem from the fact that he is unable to do things he used to do. He considers himself an independent man and has found himself needing to ask for help and that makes him angry. He says he doesn’t like to burden his children but needs to ask for help for things he was accustomed to doing himself like cutting his grass and he feels ashamed that he can no longer do those things for himself
Finally, I asked Mr. R. how he felt about the current health system and how it people of his age. He became frustrated and stated, “It could use some work. I used to see the doctor every month and now I can only see him every three months. I don’t feel like I am getting the care I truly need.” He explained to be that the system continues to change and not for the better. He told me about a time they changed his insulin prescription and it was not covered by his insurance and he had to pay for it out of pocket. He said luckily his children helped pay for his medication, but he knows others may not have children to help and worries about those people.
After spending some time with Mr. R., I am really impressed on his views. He has a great attitude toward aging. I believe his strengths for promoting his wellness is that he doesn’t let growing old bother him. He told me his isn’t afraid of death. He knows that death is the ending to everyone’s story and he has lived his life with no regrets and has tried to live his life to its fullest. The fact that he doesn’t worry or think about growing old I think has helped him promote a healthy aging and wellness process. I hope to live my life like Mr. R. He seemed happy and content at where his life has led him. I loved his attitude and I was saddened when out interview was over.
I would identify discrimination toward an individual because of their age as ageist thinking. Viewing someone as incapable because of age is ageist thinking. Three ways you can overcome your personal ageism by highlighting a person’s abilities rather than focus on their disabilities. Not judging a person by their looks can help overcome ageism. Another way to overcome ageism is to not talk about age. Ageism plays a role in the way health care providers relate to their patients because they seem to make diagnosis because of age. For example, they may say its normal for an older adult to experience depression because they are old and not look of any other issues that could be causing their depression. Ways to help others overcome their ageism include encouraging them to speak up and defend themselves. Not to allow themselves to be pushed aside due to their age. Having a good attitude can help overcome ageism. Also, surrounding themselves with supporting people can help them overcome ageism.
The YMCA of Corpus Christi has many programs for active older adults. The program gives older adults a chance to socialize with other older adults and gives them a way to stay active. Their programs include exercise programs such as Silversneakers, Cardio Circuits, and water aerobics. They have luncheons and wellness seminars aimed at enhancing the routines of their members.
In conclusion, conducting this interview with an older adult has made me aware of the challenges most older adults face. It has also made me aware that everyone has their own view and thought on aging. Fortunately for my interviewee he seems to have a positive view towards his aging. I enjoyed my time with him, hearing him speak of his life experiences.