Custom «Interview: Aging» Sample Essay
Table of Contents
- General Information and First Signs of Changing
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- Health Changes and Problems
- Observed Changes with Aging
- General State of Health and Coping with Everyday Activities
- Family Support
- Financing Retirement
- Best and Worst about Ageing
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Aging is a natural and normal biological process accompanied by a complex set of changes in all organs and body systems. There are clear and visible changes on which any person can determine the age judging by appearance. Gerontology studies the process of aging and aims at determining not only complex and common features of aging, but it also states that this process is individual in each case. In this paper, the aging person in his late sixties answers questions that will help to determine specifics of aging and its results for every aspect of human life. Moreover, the answers will give a possibility to make conclusions about the specifics of aging depending on various factors.
General Information and First Signs of Changing
The person in the interview is a family friend and neighbor Andy Holloway. He is a 68-year-old person who lives together with his wife and tries to enjoy his life. He had worked in an automobile repair service for the last ten years of his life, and now he is retired and does some carpentry at home for his wife. Answering the question about changing of his life with aging, he mentions a list of peculiarities. For example, now his food is well balanced and routine, he is not interested in trying and experiencing of new tastes because as he points out “all food tastes are almost the same now” for him. Comparing his current exercise and physical activities to earlier times, he mentions that he does more walking now but tries not to lift too heavy things as he experiences significant spine problems after that (Morgan and Kunkel 21). Andy mentions that his life now became routine and even has some schedule. His inner clock always wakes him up the same time every day early in the morning and makes him do the breakfast, read the morning newspaper, and start his regular day after that. Speaking about leisure, Andy pointed out that he tries to make his life look like at the times when he had a job and have some fun activities during the weekend. For example, he makes some carpentry, finishing the project during the week and spends time with his grandsons during the weekend. Speaking about the changes of his life in general, Andy mentions that he like his life now as he has a lot of spare time, but, at the same time, he has power and ability to make himself busy during that time. This makes him glad that he still can do something useful.
Aging processes are very individual. This applies not only to the age of the onset of inevitable changes in the body, not just the pre-emptive destruction of some organs and relative safety of others, but also mental changes associated with this process. Many older people retain high creativity and ability to find the joy of life in the changed circumstances like Andy, but there are also many others experiencing significant mental problems. Accumulated life experience and maturity of judgment enable an aging person to review past attitudes and views, to form a new position in life, to find a quiet contemplative attitude towards life. However, in most cases, as Susan Whitbourne mentions: “the mere fact of aging and a number of related situations in life begin creating conditions for a violation of adaptation” (85). The gradual loss of close people and the problem of loneliness, retirement, and completion of professional activity stimulate the change of life stereotype. Therefore, the status of financial state changes often begins to develop the variety of ailments that limit physical ability and cause a feeling of weakness.
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The inability to cope with their own domestic problems, fear of the future, the decline of usefulness in the family and social life, the awareness of inevitably approaching death is not a complete list of psychological problems, which the aging person starts to face (Whitbourne 94). Aging and age changes affect central nervous system and brain in particular. Although not considered a disease in medical sense, age-related changes in the body evoke the feeling of pain, uselessness, weakness and cause sophisticated psycho-emotional manifestations for a person formed on this background, develop various mental and psychosomatic disorders. This reduces the quality of human life, which further contributes to the development of disorders.
Health Changes and Problems
Andy mentions that he noticed significant changes of his health as he now has problems with his back, arthritis; his breathing is not that easy as earlier; and he experiences heaviness in his lungs when performing some exercise. Breathing in elderly people is surface, it develops senile emphysema and makes it difficult to perform any physical activity. Besides, Andy admits that his doctor mentioned characteristic changes in the cardiovascular system of his organism. The arteries that carry oxygen-rich blood from the heart to all organs and tissues are not working as usually, blood flow is reduced. A blood flow to the heart muscle has significant importance for the whole organism. As Sue Saxon mentions, “the blood, on the one hand, delivers power cells and oxygen and on the other, it removes waste, noxious products that are accumulated because of life processes and metabolism” (134). The deterioration of the blood supply means the rapid aging of organs.
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Changes in the digestive system starts in the mouth: weight of the salivary glands reduces as well as their function. Gastric work worsens; it becomes harder to digest vitamins, calcium, phosphorus, amino acids, and other substances (Saxon, Etten, and Perkins 171). Pancreatic function reduces significantly, and intestinal peristalsis weakens the processes of digestion and absorption in the intestine (Saxon, Etten, and Perkins 187). As for aging people, reducing of mass and volume is common, and it leads to them becoming inactive. Studies of renal function indicate that its reverse development is a physiological involution between 20 to 60 years.
As a result of age, kidneys are losing their weight. Due to a number of cardiovascular changes, Andy has to take various pills that support his blood system and prevent heart attack. Due to this fact, he has to visit his doctor regularly, and taking pills is also a bit problematic as he forgets a lot of things recently. It is good that his wife always reminds him about taking the pills, but she is also not young (she is 65) and can forget.
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Besides heart and lungs problems, Andy mentions that he has some problems with his urination system. According to Paola Timiras investigation, the frequency of urination for older people rises due to a decrease of contractile ability of the bladder. This leads to frequent urination during both day and night (308). Significantly reduced tonus of the pelvic muscles and urinary sphincter leads to partial leaking of urine when coughing, sneezing, and lifting weights for women. Older men have often problems with prostate adenoma formed around the urinary channel that causes urinary retention. As for Andy, he points out that he has to visit specific therapy course once every three months and has to take pills that support his urinary system. An interesting fact is that Andy used to eat significant amount of fast food earlier, and he can let himself eat some burgers from time to time even now, but he has to be careful as he mentions difficulties with his urinary system the same day he eats junk food.
Observed Changes with Aging
Answering the question about mental abilities and the process of memorizing things for Andy, he mentions nowadays a number of problems he faces. First, he noted that his memory worsened significantly; he sometimes forgets to take his pills, and it is good that his wife reminds him of that from time to time (Naveh-Benjamin and Ohta 14). He has to eat specific food that stimulates normal work of his brain and take some memory stimulating dietary supplements (Klatz and Goldman 36). However, their help is insignificant as these processes are the resultants of nervous system aging. The signs of nervous system aging affect mental and physical performance, memory, emotions, and behavioral reactions (Naveh-Benjamin and Ohta 32). Humans after 60 usually suffer load joints aching: hips, knees and ankles suffer the most.
Articular surface is worn out and erased, the ligaments become less elastic which not only makes it difficult to move but also causes pain. The amount of joint fluid also changes. Older people can often observe the changes in their organs of vision. Cataract is developing, and it dramatically reduces or completely ruins the sight of one or both eyes. The disease often goes in tandem with increased intraocular pressure or glaucoma (Timiras 118). Both of these diseases require surgical treatment. The aging of the organ of hearing usually starts after 40-50 years and shows hearing loss that progresses over time.
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After the age of 60, tinnitus usually appears, and a person begins to hear worse when speaking over the phone. Most people over 60 years of age have a weakening taste, primarily for sweets. The aging of the nervous system is the leading factor in the aging of the whole organism. With central nervous system related to adaptation, it contributes to an increase in life expectancy. During the life of neurons, the nerve cells collected needed vital information, but their number decreases after 50-60 years (Klatz and Goldman 45). Besides, specialists note lowering of the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine levels, which increases the tendency of a person to depression in response to psychosocial stress.
General State of Health and Coping with Everyday Activities
Andy also mentions that he experiences significant digestive problems. He and his wife try to eat well-balanced food; however, sometimes, when they eat out, they have to take special pills that help them to digest food and stimulate the work of intestine (Cavanaugh and Blanchard-Fields 48). The most significant changes while aging occur in the motor function of the intestine. The most common problems that doctors observe include atrophy of the intestinal muscles, and intestinal blood flow also deteriorates. Madonna Meyer mentions that intensive data changes particularly occur to individuals with a “sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy diet with a deficit of food fibers in the diet” (137). For elderly people, the deterioration of digestion and absorption becomes significant problem as well due to the worsening function of the intestinal mucosa. Atrophy of the intestinal villi decreases the activity of digestion and absorption of food components.
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The consequence of this is a deficiency of protein, vitamins, minerals, and trace elements in the body. In older age, disbiotic changes develop in the gut (Schulz 315). This pathological process depends on a number of factors. Firstly, due to reduced gastric acidity and liver bile, the protection decreases, and the gastrointestinal tract in the intestines becomes open for the penetration of pathogenic microbes, fungi, viruses, and other representatives of the intestinal microflora (Schulz 140). Secondly, insufficient consumption of dietary fiber on the background of a weakened motor activity of the intestine causes conditions to the oppression of its own flora and favors the proliferation of alien organisms (Cavanaugh and Blanchard-Fields 52). Fermentative processes are producing large amounts of gas, and abdominal bowel loops accompany the development of intestinal imbalance.
Excessive flatulence leads to increased constipation, absorption in the intestine, and excessive amounts of toxins. It does not have time to defuse the impaired intestinal bacterial flora entering the bloodstream (Timiras 278). High concentrations of these substances in the blood cause violation of the cardiovascular system for elderly people including increased blood pressure, increased frequency of angina attacks, violation of cardiac rhythm, and other disorders, that contribute to the deterioration of general state of health, mood, sleep and cause fatigue (Weisstub 34). Speaking about general ability of dealing with everyday activities, Andy mentions that he observes some limitations of weight lifting and he tries to keep his back in warmth. In general, his state is rather stable if he does everything that is on schedule; however, he experiences sometimes discomfort of forgetting things.
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Answering the questions about the family, Andy mentions that he is married to his wife Donna for more than 40 years. They have two children, a son and a daughter. Andy and Donna have four grandchildren who are now aged from 6 to 16. The family members stay very close to each other. They spend weekends and family holidays together. Sometimes, they visit their children to stay with their grandchildren. Family activities are the only job Andy and Donna perform nowadays. Donna does the gardening, and Andy has built a greenhouse for her. Moreover, they have two greenhouses; one is for flowers, and the second one is for vegetable growing. As it was mentioned earlier, Andy worked as a mechanic, and now he visits his former place of work and helps younger professionals by giving them advice and consulting them in some difficult situations. Andy feels needed by his family and surrounding society, and it helps him keep positive attitude to life and stay active (Morgan and Kunkel 17). Apart from automobile repair activities, Andy does some carpentry for his house and for his children. He enjoys working with wood, and he made most of the furniture in his house using his instruments and ordering wood to work at home. Speaking about caregiving, he mentions that his children are financially independent, and he does not help them financially. At the same time, he also does not need money from his children as he had managed to do the savings previously, and now he has enough money to have an “ordinary life of an elderly person” as he puts it. At the same time, he mentioned that last year, he and his wife travelled a lot around the country and even went to Hawaii. His family supports him in everything, and they help each other giving advice and discussing the problems for finding the best solutions together. He is sure that both his children would take care of him when his health state worsens, but he also mentions that he prefers not to think about it now. He also pointed out that he would rather have a nurse who would take care of him and Donna, a person who would be able to give them professional help in case of emergency. Actually, the level of support in his family is rather high, and it stimulates the activity level and social adaptation due to aging changes happening in a milder form than for any other man of his age.
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During the work in an auto-repair service, Andy managed to invest significant amount of money in order to have enough finance during his retirement years. Besides, nowadays, he gets additional finance for his consultancy work at repair service from time to time. He enjoys being helpful to people and sharing his knowledge. Andy experiences specific worries about financing of his life and the life of his wife in case of the detection of some significant health issues. Besides, he deposited some sum of money, and he and his wife use the percentage of that money for their living. He mentions that having this deposit makes his life easier as he is sure that his family would have financial support for a long time.
Andy and his wife have health insurances; this fact makes sure that they will have all the necessary medication and help in case of emergency, unexpected operations, or other similar cases. The level of worries is rather low for Andy, and this makes it easier for him to overcome changes of blood pressure and other problems. He mentions that Social Security provides them with enough support and helps with the drugs required for blood pressure medication. In fact, Andy considers that government could do more for the aging citizens by providing free necessary medications and services to them as most of his friends and acquaintances experience the lack of medication support from the government. He also adds that people of his age and older require long-term care services and monitoring of their health on a regular basis. At the same time, he understands that such activities require significant financing and timing.
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Best and Worst about Ageing
It is worth mentioning that in general, Andy is an exception from the rule that people of his age are usually stressed and angry all the time, their neurological system is imbalanced, and they cannot enjoy life (Weisstub 44). Andy has a supportive family, and his wife is always there for him to help, to remind about taking pills and drinking more water. The most favorite thing Andy prefers to do is fishing with his son and grandsons. They enjoy collecting the fishing equipment, spending time together, relaxing, and enjoying the nature and river sounds. Besides, Andy is proud of his son and likes to have long discussions with him. The best thing about his life now, as he admits, is having more time for family and having plenty of time for the things he dreamed to do earlier but did not have time. He enjoys doing carpentry, helping his wife in gardening, and playing with his grandchildren. The best thing of being old, he says, is having all the family around and spending holidays together. However, he admits that he would rather have more energy and stronger memory as these are the most crucial things that happen to him. He does not like forgetting things and feeling heaviness in his lungs when breathing as well as high blood pressure and aching joints.
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