For this observation assignment I chose to observe Doris. Doris is a seventy-six year old volunteer at the day care I work at. I have been observing Doris over a course of ten weeks and have spoken with her on many occasions. Doris lost her husband fourteen years ago after a short illness. The anniversary of his passing is coming up within a few days of Thanksgiving. When we began speaking of him, I observed the change in Doris’ demeanor. She is still grieving over this loss.
Her three children are grown and married with children of their own. They all live a distance from her. Two daughters live in Colorado and one son lives in New Jersey. Doris recently underwent surgery on her arm and both daughters came to help her during her recuperation. According to the Penick, “the Adlerian Theory emphasizes on striving, purpose, and meaning could, by itself, lend useful perspectives on the needs and healthy developments of older people” (2004, p.5) She is very determined to be self-sufficient and does not like accepting help from anyone else. She has neighbors who try their best to help her in ways of yard upkeep and basic maintenance on her home. Doris still lives in the home she shared with her husband. They had been married for thirty-five years prior to his passing.
Through observing her interacting with the infants, I have seen how much her volunteer work means to her. She comes in on a weekly basis. During this time she will play with, feed, and rock the infants. She began volunteering a few years after the passing of her husband, outside of this volunteering; Doris does not socialize with others in her age range on a regular basis. The holidays are a hard time for Doris, not just the passing of her husband, but also with her children being so far away.
I have observed her desire for independence and to stay as healthy as possible. Doris has arthritis in her hands and legs. Despite this, Doris is still able to get around rather well. Doris and I have spoken about the changes over time in family values and she states how lucky she was to be able to stay home with her children and never had to put them in daycare.
Late adulthood in Erikson’s life stage theory is the difference between in integrity versus despair. (Ashford & Lecroy, 2013, p. 99) Doris has found her life to be very satisfying. The only thing she wishes could have been changed is the passing of her husband so early. She is content and proud of the way her children have turned out and where her life is currently. We have talked much about how things were as she raised...