This paper is based on the biographical sketch of Joseph, 83 years old adult. For privacy reasons and for the identity of the person to remain anonymous, we would call the man Joseph.
In an effort to gain knowledge of the attitudes and myths held by many people regarding older adults, their health, and the way these beliefs affect their care, a person of over eighty years was interviewed. In particular, the interview focuses on a man currently approaching eighty-four years. For privacy reasons and for the identity of the person to remain anonymous, we would call the man Joseph. Born in November 1929, Joseph would be celebrating his eighty-fourth birthday in November. Joseph is the last born in the family with four children. Joseph looks delicate by outward appearance. However, Joseph can move easily around the compound. His face is full of wrinkles though smooth. Strikingly, Joseph’s teeth are still strong and fully fixed in the jaws.
Joseph’s parents migrated into a small town when he was three years old. The father of Joseph was transferred to work in the railway station within the town. The mother later found a job in the nearby laundry. The settlement of Joseph’s parents in the town became their permanent residence later. Joseph was brought up and spent their entire life in this town. In addition, Joseph’s parents bought land in the town that enabled their permanent settlement. As such, Joseph and his parents are natives considering the fact that they have lived in the town for more than eighty years. At the age of twenty, Joseph got a job in one of the mining firms within the town. Joseph worked in that company for ten years and left the job to manage the family business.
Joseph’s mother died of tuberculosis when Joseph was thirty. At that time, Joseph was already married and had their first child. Luckily, Joseph and his wife are still alive though a bit frail due to advanced age. Joseph, like the parents, had four children, two daughters, and two sons all of whom are living in different cities across the country. Currently, their eldest granddaughter cares for them.
When asked about his thoughts concerning aging, Joseph did not regret it and instead looked optimistic about the future. Joseph accepted that aging is natural for all people and should be celebrated. According to Joseph, each advancing day in one’s life should be perceived as a gift. Though Joseph has accepted the fact that aging comes with numerous illnesses and body aches, the argument is that individuals are different. The fact that they are ailing does not necessarily mean that other people of a similar age have the same experience. Many ageing people are still going stronger.
When asked about what has greatly changed over time besides his health, Joseph argues that his financial position has drastically changed compared to the status he had in his mid-thirties. Joseph reflected that by the time he gave up the job, he was strong enough to generate a sufficient income for the whole family as well as for other people under their care. Currently, Joseph cannot make a cent and depends partly on the retirement benefits and the contribution of his children. Having sold the family business due to what he described as a bad decision, Joseph regrets that he cannot even raise rental charges for the granddaughter’s apartment and has to depend on his children for the livelihood. Such dependency is what Joseph does not like about ageing.
Joseph appreciates having children and grandchildren who are very helpful. In addition, Joseph argues that he would be happy seeing their greater grandchild since their elder great-grandchild is approaching eighteen. Joseph’s firstborn is currently fifty-six years while his elder grandchild is thirty-seven years. The last-born in Joseph’s family is forty-six years and has two sons who are twenty and seventeen respectively. Joseph’s greatest moment is when the whole family assembles for Christmas celebrations or the Easter holidays. Joseph loves seeing his children and grandchildren chatting as well as great-grandchildren playing around him. According to Joseph’s sentiment, children and great-grandchildren are the utmost gifts of ageing.
Having achieved the middle level in college education, Joseph was happy to have worked hard to educate his children as well as other neighboring orphans. Educating children and providing for the rest of the family are the greatest achievements that Joseph revered. Joseph was more thankful to his wife for the support throughout the period. Currently, Joseph would like to have a tour around the country in order to meet different people, watch different things and engage in activities that are different from their daily routine. Such kinds of activities reinvigorate their life and make them feel younger and stronger.
The interview with Joseph offered a valuable lesson particularly on the perceptions the younger generations have concerning the aging population. Essentially, the responses of Joseph about his life background are not surprising given the fact that most of the responses were expected and have been reviewed in class. Surprisingly, Joseph was very positive about life in general contrary to the expectations. Most of the people believe that aged people are unhappy and have ill health. In addition, despite the fact that we are strangers, Joseph was highly welcoming. Moreover, contrary to the expectations and beliefs of many people, Joseph was very positive concerning his life and future.
The most important lesson learnt from this interview was that the younger generation continues to stereotype health problems and behavior of the aging people, which are very natural. Most people realize these problems only when they have reached the advanced age. Moreover, individuals are different. Behaviors and body conditions at an old age are exclusively independent of the individual past experiences. Such kind of behaviors and health conditions depend on individuality as well as personal achievements. In the case of Joseph, the way he took care of himself, his lifestyle as well as achievements have played a greater role in the quality of his current life. From Joseph’s experience, it is true that the life satisfaction does not reduce with age. Moreover, it is evident that the stability in individuality can increase with the advancement in age (Tabloski, 2010). The lessons are critical in caring for the aging people particularly in the nursing profession.
Another important insight from the interview is the significance of communication skills while handling the ageing people. Difficulties arise in the situations when discussing regrettable moments in the life of an old person. In addition, difficulties arise while discussing issues of loneliness and the number of years remaining for them to complete the human lifespan. The changes in facial expressions while discussing these issues were vividly observable in Joseph. Even though Joseph looked optimistic about the future, the realization of the possibility to become lonely and of dying soon comes with internal sadness. Therefore, greater communication skills are highly needed while handling such issues.
Tabloski, P. A. (2010). Deontological nursing. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Julie Levin Alexander.