Online Custom «The Interview of an Older Adult» Essay Sample

The Interview of an Older Adult

With the growing number of elderly people in society, aging is becoming a popular topic of professional discussions. The rise in the popularity of gerontological nursing reflects the emerging concerns that aging populations will not have enough capacity to cope with various social and life issues. Contemporary professionals define aging as the process of losing the capacity for adaptation to the changing circumstances of life (Flatt, 2012). The decline in individuals' adaptive capacity is further associated with the development of numerous physiological and psychological complications. Unfortunately, popular definitions of aging do not always reflect the overall complexity of the process. Moreover, such definitions are frequently associated with numerous misconceptions of what aging is and how it works. Only when nurses work closely with elderly patients they realize the true nature of aging and its implications for the quality of life among older adults. That is why new methodologies similar to a Life Review are developed to facilitate the provision of quality nursing care.

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Life Review is a unique approach to evaluating one's life. It is becoming particularly popular in gerontological nursing. According to Butler (2002), individuals who face a serious crisis or undergo an inner change under the influence of a psychological event often require time and space to reconsider the event and its effects on life. Life Review is a process that is highly personal and, to some extent, intimate, when a person develops a new vision of life (Butler, 2002). Gerontological nurses are uniquely positioned to assist elderly patients in conducting a Life Review, since they are aware of the challenges facing individuals as they are becoming older. Also, nurses in elderly care possess the professional and interpersonal skills required to conduct a Life Review. The information obtained through an interview conducted as part of a Life Review can be particularly helpful in developing personalized psychological and spiritual interventions for elderly patients.

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The purpose of current assignment has been to conduct an interview with an older adult. The information shared by the elderly interviewee will further serve as the basis for conducting a Life Review. The interview was organized with a 71-year-old woman of Irish-German ethnic origin. It comprised questions related to the most essential stages of the interviewee's life, from childhood, through adolescence and adulthood, to the age of maturity. As expected, the information shared during the interview is particularly valuable for completing the woman's Life Review and evaluating the extent, to which she has managed to achieve ego integrity.

Overall, the interviewee reports that the 71 years she has lived had not been particularly good. She recognizes that her children, siblings, and the second husband have been the three most essential satisfactions, which she still values and cherishes. The woman regrets having been married to an alcoholic and having failed to finish high school. Still, she describes numerous moments that made her feel proud of herself and her accomplishments. The woman speaks of her age as being filled with small pleasures. She is still sexually active and happy to have lived to the age of 71. Despite diabetes, she has strong hopes to make it until at least 80, being in good physical and mental health without any fear to find herself in a long-term facility.

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Overall, the interview has resulted in mixed feelings. On the one hand, it is sad to realize the inevitability and, actually, irreversibility of the aging processes. Everyone grows older with time, but not everyone is prepared to cope with the challenges that are associated with aging. One of the major fears associated with the interview was hearing something that would change dramatically one's perceptions of aging and death. However, the interviewee was simple in her revelations and did not seem to be willing to discuss the issues of aging and coming death in detail.

On the other hand, the information provided during the interview did not change the existing perceptions of how an elderly person is aging. The woman interviewed for current assignment has managed to provide a comprehensive review of her life, based on the questions she was asked but without any strong motivation to provide details. Her relatively good state of health implies that the legacy of incapacitation and debilitative changes in aging should be resolved. It is wrong to believe that all elderly people necessarily encounter serious changes in health that can make them less active or reduce their life satisfaction.

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Finally, the information the woman has shared during the interview can hardly motivate anyone to change current life patterns, values and habits. Her life does not differ greatly from thousands of women of the same age. The fact that her first marriage was brutally unhappy is not enough to make any philosophic judgments and advocate the development of any new nursing practices. However, the interviewing experience by itself is a good strategy to teach gerontological nurses how to display greater sensitivity to patients' concerns about aging and death. For example, when the woman says that she does not want to finish her life in a long-term care facility, nurses should propose relevant solutions to any health problems that may require the provision of long-term care or offer valuable alternatives to living in a nursing home.

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Overall, the patient seems to have reached a good level of ego integrity to spend the rest of her life in peace and reconciliation with the rest of the world. Her responses support the emerging truth that "in today's busy world, filled with distractions and immediate gratifications, it is easy to shrug off the awareness of death, to remove it from our conscious mind, and even to deny its existence" (Parker, 2013, p. 8).

In summary, an interview with an older adult is a good opportunity for a geriatric nurse to develop a better understanding of aging. It is equally important for a geriatric nurse to understand how patients themselves perceive and deal with the issues associated with older age. Any information provided in an interview can serve as the basis for developing and implementing Life Review therapies. Such therapies have a good potential to assist patients in achieving the desired level of ego integrity later in life.

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