A Life in Late Adulthood

Activity 8: Late Adulthood

For this activity, we need to interview a person who in his or her late adulthood. It has been a hassel to find a respondent willing to have the interview session with us. We looked through many places and decided to go to Aiman Mall around 4.00 pm. Finally after walking around, we found an old lady who is 61 years old, selling fruits nearby. We asked permission from her son and had an interview session with her straight. Along the process of the interview, we asked a lot of question about herself. She gave a good cooperation thus makes it easier for us to conduct an interview session. Here are some of the interview questions

  1. Background information (date of birth,gender, place of birth, family background, academic qualification, life goals and motto)
  2. Do you believe that health begins to deteriorate when we grow older? If so, how does that apply to you, in terms of health wise (what are the health problems faced, or if nothing how is she able to maintain her good health)?
  3. What are the principles/ values that you hold on to all these years? How did these principles help you to go through your life?
  4. If someone asks you who you are, how will you describe yourself? Do you think that you have developed a clear self identity at this age? At what age did you find who you really are?
  5. How is her relationship with her family and friends? Do they still keep in contact? Or do they grow distant as she ages? Does she get lonely as she grows older?
  6. Do you believe that learning is a life long process? If so, then what are some of the things that you have yet to learn or have learned in the past few years? Are you open to accept new concepts or new ideas (can be in the form of like cooking style or any other things that your grandma has her set ways of doing things)
  7. What are your thoughts on technology nowadays? Do you think it will be able to take over our jobs in the near future (Examples?)? What do you think will happen to the generations then?
  8. What are some of the most important life lessons that you have learned? Can you talk a little bit about your achievements? If you were one day to leave the world, would there be any regrets? If there is, then what would it be?

Background

She was born on 22nd March 1958, and she originated from Saratok. Between five of her siblings, she is the third child in her family. She makes a living by selling fruits and vegetables in the streets of Aiman Mall for approximately only 2 years, even though she had stayed in Samarahan area for around thirty years. At the beginning, our interviewee had run the business all by herself, but her children then helped her in terms of selling as well. They were all were on the same boat to support her in her business, which makes her really proud of her children. Even so, she wasn’t always a business woman. Our interviewee used to take care of her grandchildren back in the days when her grandchildren were younger. Now that they are older, she took  the initiative to start up her business to overcome boredom and kill leisure time at home. Coincidentally, there was an availability in the streets of Aiman Mall for her to start up her business.

Summary of the Interview

When questioned how she would describe herself were someone to ask her who she is, she told us that she considers herself as a helpful person. She loves to help others, which we infer due to her willingness to help us in interviewing her while many others have refused. She had also stated that she had encountered UNIMAS students before wanting to make an interview with her.

In terms of relationship-wise, she tends to keep her circle of friends small, where she only have two friends. She stated also that she generally does not pay attention to what others have to say about her, and does not waste her energy in wanting to know what others would think of her as she deemed that to be a waste of time. We assumed that she had encountered experiences in her past where she realises that people who bring negative vibes is not worth wasting her time on. 

All of her five siblings are alive and well, whereby some of them are still staying in rural areas while others live in the  city. Even at her old age, she stated that she is still very close with her siblings. It shows as she explained that her siblings are always willing to lend a helping hand whenever she needs it, clearly demonstrating that they have each others back. She also helps her nieces and siblings a lot financially. Coming into late adulthood, our interviewee does not feel lonely as she still keeps close contacts with her children and siblings. Other than that,she is also grateful for her supportive husband. Her advice for her children when they had grown up is for them to take care of the houses that she had inherited for them, so that she won’t have to worry about anything when she leaves.

She is proud of who she became today, because it was her parents that had taught her how to live by respecting others. In terms of cognitive development, even though she had not receive any formal education, she is still able to buy houses. Cognitive abilities are brain-based skills that we use to perform tasks from the most simple task to the most complex (Michelon, 2006). It is the way of how we perceive something, perform problem-solving, pay attention, remember (memory) and also learning (Michelon, 2006). Some of the cognitive abilities that we might have are general intelligence, spatial ability, perceptual ability, reasoning ability and also verbal ability (“Individual Differences And Environmental Factors”, n.d.). We believe that our interviewee had not have the ‘academic’ intelligence, but other types of intelligence as well seeing how successful she became even without proper education.

In terms of physical development, our interviewee seemed like she still is in her good health. She has less wrinkles for someone that is already in their late adulthood. When we had questioned about the secrets of her good health, she said that she had none. She believes that health begins to deteriorate as people grow older, more specifically above the age of 80. She does worry about her health as she had previously suffered from high blood pressure and diabetes due to being overweight. However, till  today, she is still on medication, which means that her health has not been recovered completely, although she feels much better than before.

She believes that learning is a life-long process. In her career-wise, she believes that it is important to observe and analyse how others are improving their business from day to day. This can be seen in terms of psychosocial development as well. Our interviewee observes how her environment works, and aims to pick up new skills and learn new strategies herself in trying to improve herself as a business woman in the industry as she does not want to feel left out. Our interviewee does her business just for fun as her main goal in doing business was to fill up her time, and not mainly to provide her financial stability. In this statement, we can assume that she would score high on agreeableness as agreeable individuals tend to value compassion, tradition, conformity while avoiding placing too much emphasis on power, achievement or selfish pleasures (Roccas, Sagiv, Schwartz, & Knafo, 2002). She is happy when she is able to meet new people and able to interact with others in order to share her opinions and her ideas with the other parties, which we can also induce that she would score high on extraversion as she loves to socialise with others.

We believe that our interviewee would score high on the trait of openness to new experience based on the Big Five Personality Test. According to Schretlen, van der Hulst, Pearlson, & Gordon (2010) in a research that was conducted, this trait seems to have a correlation to intelligence and divergent-thinking of an individual, whereby the intellectual skills tend to increase with age. This meant that an individual with high scores of this trait are stimulated by new ideas, where they gain more knowledge and skills as time pass by as they are able to acquire it through experience. The definition of this trait can be defined more accurately by Kalat (2014), which is the proneness of an individual to enjoy new ideas as well as new intellectual experiences. Looking around at the streets of Aiman Mall, we believe that our interviewee was one of the few vendors that were in their late adulthood. This clearly shows that the interviewee does not see age as a barrier to chase after what she wants to achieve in her life. She was also very willing to continue learning new skills from other vendors just to improve herself.

She believes that technology provided today act as a stepping stone for humanity to make life easier. She also states that social medias such as Facebook has made it easier for her to promote her business to others around her. She does not think that technology can have any bad effect on generations nowadays.

We enjoyed the interview session where she have a lot of story about her background, milestones, life styles and experiences. Besides, she also gave some advise and opinions on the current generation values like technology and health. Conducting an interview session is a fun and nice experience. We think if there are any opportunities to conduct an interview session for case study, we will really looking forward for another one. It bring us near to the society and always gives us new knowledge and experience. We would says that these kind of activity can cultivate team building skills and bring us closer as a team. So, it is an activity that we would encourage others to do. It gives us a lot of benefits in terms of life learning and values. We would never know someone that seems like an ordinary person can actually be extraordinary in their own ways. We got a lot of life lesson from someone in the phase late adulthood. So, this activity really gives an impact to us as students.

References:

Individual differences and environmental factors influence human behavior psychology. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.ukessays.com/essays/psychology/individual-differences-and-environmental-factors-influence-human-behavior-psychology-essay.php

Kalat, J. W. (2014). Introduction to Psychology. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Michelon, P. (2006, December 18). What are cognitive abilities and skills, and how to boost them? Retrieved from https://sharpbrains.com/blog/2006/12/18/what-are-cognitive-abilities/

Roccas, S., Sagiv, L., Schwartz, S. H., & Knafo, A. (2002). The Big Five personality factors and personal values. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 28(6), 789-801

Schretlen, D., Van der Hulst. E.J., Pearlson G.D., & Gordon, B., (2010). A neuropsychological study of personality: Trait openness in relation to intelligence, fluency, and executive functioning. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, 32, 1068-1073. (10)

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