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Late Adulthood Observation: Doris Essay

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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
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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 her children and even that of when she was a child. Cappeliez calls this the reminiscence bump, the ability to recall memories from adolescence through young adulthood. (2008, p. 1) She appreciates the life she has been fortunate to have and enjoys sharing the memories she has. I observed the way her face lit up as we talked about her as a child and her children. Another area of observation is the effect of losing her spouse. Many of our volunteers have lost a spouse prior to coming and volunteering at the day care. There are many benefits to volunteering for the late adulthood individual who has experienced a loss of their spouse. According to Li some of the benefits include: a positive impact on well-being, social support and interactions, reduces stress, and promotes healthy behaviors. (2007, p. 2) Death of a long time spouse can have the opposite affect if left to grieve and mourn on their own without a support system. According to Li, “Older bereaved persons face many physical and psychological
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