Perspective Of Aging: A Phenomenological Approach

1394 words - 6 pages

Perspective of aging: A phenomenological approach
Introduction
Aging is the process by which the human body undergoes changes and maturation over time, mainly because dead cells are not replaced in sufficient amounts to maintain optimum performance. In addition, changes in behavior are expected, (Gall, Beins, and Feldman, 2001). Due to the distinctive physical and psychological changes, this period of life can be one of much confusion for the elderly. Fortunately, technological advances in medicine and lifestyles have made life expectancy increase significantly since the fifties to the present, (Hiller & Barrow, 2011). For this project I used a phenomenology method. Phenomenology is the study of life events as they appear in the consciousness of a person or group of people; moreover is the study of experiences as they come to pass in our lives, (Desjarlais & Throop, 2011). This paper aims to analyze, visualize and illustrate various aspects of aging from the point of view of older adults.
Methodology
This brief study involved the participation of 3 subjects between 69-74 years of age, from two different ethnic groups: Whites and Hispanics. Participants were a Hispanic woman (HW) 71 years old (divorced and then widowed), a Hispanic man (HM) age 74 (divorced), and a White man (WM) 69 years of age (divorced and recently widowed). Due to Alzheimer’s, for the interview with WM participant I required the assistance of his son (40 years old) for corroboration of obtained facts. Subjects did not receive any compensation for their participation. In-depth phenomenological interviews were conducted to gather the information.

Findings
One of the most notorious observations was that not all people age the same way, and that chronological age (age related to time alive) is not indicative of mental or physical decay. For example HW and HM participants even though the oldest, are in good mental and physical health. Participant WM yet the youngest of the three, suffers from dementia. WM participant's son stated that his father was a smoker since a very young age, and he used to be a heavily alcohol user. To some extent these confirms that criterions for determining old age is a rigid and narrow term. Physical and psychological health of a person is linked to lifestyles in youth and present circumstances. Risky behaviors and habits (poor nutrition, smoking, drug use, excessive drinking, accidents, and stress) can negatively affect health. Staying physically and mentally busy helps elderly people maintain a proper state of health, (Hiller & Barrow, 2011).
Another common denominator I found in the healthier subjects was their high level of intrinsic religiosity. HW is a woman who likes to pray, loves helping others, and attends church mass every week. She also indicated that she has high self-assurance in God. Similarly, although from another religious denomination, HM is a man who attends church regularly, says he has no hatred for anyone, and likes to help...

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