Interview with an Older Adult
Old people play a fundamental role in society, as they offer free guidance to the younger generation on various issues, which include relationships, health, finance, as well as political issues. However, old people usually encounter several challenges when they retire because society may isolate them, or they do not make good plans about it. The major challenge among older adults is health, where majority of them suffer from chronic illnesses. I decide to conduct an interview with Johnstone Pillemer, one of my grandfather’s closest friends, to understand his past life’s situation, his current, as well as his plan for the future. Pillemer is a retired banker, aged 71 years. He is now a retiree, who spends most of the time in his resident, with her wife, who is 67 years old. Their children, who are now adults, live away from their home, and they only come to visit them whenever they are free. This has made the family to hire a house-help, who undertakes the household chores, in addition to facilitating their medical attention in case they fell ill.
Report on the interview with Mr. Pillemer
I asked Mr. Pillemer about his childhood days in my first day’s visit, and he was eager to explain that he was raised in the urban setting, where all facilities were within a few kilometers from their home. Pillemer had grown as a healthy boy without suffering from serious illnesses that could demand spending some time in hospital beds. The environment was conducive, with minimum polluters. Just like any other child, he was fond of playing with his toys, as well as his pet dog, which he nicknamed Boyd. He was the last born in a family of three, which include two brothers and a sister. Pillemer claimed that his father was a wise man, who kept on reminding him of showing respect to elderly people because one day, he will be at the same situation as them, and he would demand respect from young people. He advised him that society has a role to play on the life of the older people. As a part of the society, he should visit the elderly people in hospitals, or in their homes, and assist them in any way that he deemed appropriate. Pellimer grew up knowing the essence of taking care of the old people, who are not even family members.
During my second day in Mr. Pillemer’s house, I decided to probe on how he spent his young adult life until the retirement age. Pillemer has worked in various banks with the borders of the US, and whenever he was transferred to a given branch, he moved with his family to the new city. Having a health insurance cover was a necessity in the banking sector, thus, Pellimer was enrolled in a private insurance cover that covered for him and the family members. Pellimer was also involved in community programs that offered voluntary services to older people in his home area, where he learned a lot from counselors and health care providers who joined the course. Inadequate facilities to cater for the elderly people, as well as financial constraints, were the major problems in the provision of health care to older people (de Guzman et al 309).
When Pillemer attained 45 years, has diagnosed with chronic lower respiratory ailment, a disease that made him spend several days in the hospital bed. Luckily, he has a health insurance card, which assisted him to cover all the medical requirements. Although he recovered at that time, the disease kept on disturbing him even after his retirement. Now that the bank cannot pay for his medical needs, Pillemer had prepared for such a time by enrolling in Medicare, the federal social insurance program that caters for the health needs of people over the age of 65 years. Pillemer is glad that Medicare has helped him to recover from his ailment, as well as assuring his family of his survival.
My third day with Mr. Pillemer focused on his future, as well as the role of society in taking care of the elderly people. He vividly explained how society could assist in taking care of the elderly people through various community-based programs. He emphasized that community is a place where people live in harmony, socialize, and undertake their daily responsibilities, and community-based programs should assist elderly people to face their future with ease through meeting their physical and mental needs. Although he has two sons and a daughter who are working, he feels lonely, and sometimes, depressed. He misses the time that the family used to live together. He hopes that they would learn from his noble deed and invest on their future.
Pillemer underlined the essence of community programs in facilitating for good health among the elderly people in society. He mentioned about senior centers that handle elderly people with disabilities. According to Stanhope and Lancaster, senior centers provides education, recreation, counseling, case management, therapies, among other services, to a group of older people who opt to remain independent in the community (368). These programs are capable of facilitating treatments of those who are severely affected by various illnesses and offer high quality care to the old people.
Individuals can also plan for their future by joining Medicaid or Medicare, depending on their levels of income. According to Pillemer, these programs are essential to cater for the health of individuals in their current life, as well as during their retirement, when they are unable to earn a living. Pillemer regrets that he has not saved enough to live the way he would have liked to. He thinks that children should reciprocate and provide their parents with resources that they lack, especially at this era of technology, so that they can eradicate loneliness. However, he is happy that he has laid a health foundation for his children, who have emulating his deeds.
Living a health life is fundamental in the life of retirees and elderly people in society. A big lesson that the young generation should learn from Mr. Pillemer is that they should be prepared to face the retirement by investing on health insurance, as well as good relationship with their family members, who can assist them in such a crucial time. Old people should not be perceived as a burden, as they still hold an essential part in the community. Children should take the responsibility of ensuring that their elderly parents receive the health care that is appropriate to their survival. Apart from individual efforts in catering for the health of the elderly people, the state and community has the capacity to identify, as well as execute appropriate strategies to promote the health of the aged people.
de Guzman, Allan B., et al. “Concept of Care, Caring Expectations, And Caring Frustrations of the Elderly Suffering from Chronic Illness.” Educational Gerontology 38.5 (2012): 299-313. Academic Search Premier. Web. 22 Nov. 2014.
Stanhope, Marcia, and Jeanette Lancaster. Foundations of Nursing in the Community: Community-oriented Practice. St. Luis, Mo: Elsevier, 2014. Print.