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Interview with a Senior

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Interviewing a Senior Citizen Portfolio

Paul Jay Keys

PSY/375 Life Span Human Development

August 2nd, 2016

Shaun-Katherine Robles

University of Phoenix

Interview with JoAnn Kelly

Individuals who have matured to and through late adulthood, or senior citizens, tend to be victims of ageism. Ageism is a type of stereotype in which individuals are basically judged by their age rather than their actual skill and experience (Berger (2011) pg. 640). Many feel that these individuals have nothing to contribute due to the fact that they are old and their body and mind does not work like it used to. This is simply not true, in fact they are a treasure trove of information regarding certain experiences that many in early and middle adulthood have yet to encounter. One such senior citizen that has much to share about her life and her past is one JoAnn Kelly. JoAnn is 66 years old and the mother of two, Jewel Keys and Gary Coleman. She recently remarried at the age of 64 to a pastor by the name of Dolph Kelly.

Living Environment

        When you walk into her lovely cabin-style home, you can see that Mrs. Kelly has a more primitive taste as she has rustic stars on her wall and her mantle was decorated in vine garland. It was 12:30 pm and you could still smell the wafts of the breakfast that had just occurred merely hours earlier. I asked her if it would be okay if I used the real names of her and her children, and she agreed because of my relationship with the family. I have known Mrs. Kelly for 8 years and nearly two years ago I married her daughter Jewel. Mrs. Kelly was very accommodating asking if I would like something to drink, which I accepted. Once we were comfortable I began to ask her the questions required by the portfolio. Mrs. Kelly and her husband share a vehicle and he takes her wherever she needs/wants to go, as she can no longer drive. Joann loves to shop however, her knees just do not allow her to do so for an extended amount of time. Otherwise she is the picture of health.

Past and Present Physical Activity

        When I asked her about physical activity, JoAnn just kind of chuckled and said “I am not as active as I should be.”  I asked her to embellish on that for me. When she began talking about herself when she was a little girl playing in her sandbox and dancing to the radio, she did so with kind of a grimace on her face. I was as if she really didn’t enjoy talking about her childhood very much and I did not push the subject because I felt it would be inappropriate. A smile did come, however, when she began talking about her first husband and her children. You got the sense that she enjoyed being a mother and a wife. The smile never left her face for the rest of the physical activity discussion. My observation of her functionality was probably the most surprising aspect of the physical activity as she walks very fast and just seemed to have so much energy. If there is one thing that she could probably improve on it is physical strength.

Past and Present Mental Stimulation

Many individuals of the “Baby Boomer” generation are concerned with cognitive deterioration   particularly memory insufficiency associated with aging (Potkanowicz, Hartman-Stein, & Biermann, 2009). However I get the feeling that JoAnn keeps her mind sharp, as she rarely forgets much. When we began to discuss this subject she lit up again as if she got to talk about her favorite subject. As she would talk about her ministry, and playing guitar and singing with her band and going from church to church to spread her ministry, she would laugh to herself. Perhaps she was remembering certain memories that maybe she had not visited for a while, and it just felt like she felt refreshed to talk about it.  There was something that did surprise me at this point in the conversation, and that was that she wrote her own music for her ministry. So when she sings it’s her words being spoken and not someone else’s reiterated. When she talked about the Game Show Network (GSN) and the puzzles she kind of shrugged her shoulders in a way to insinuate that they were guilty pleasures. She did say later, however, that when she wanted to clear her mind she would garden.

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