Living spiritually and living happy My interviewee is a woman who is named “Mary”; she has been my neighbor for ten years now. I have become very close to her. Her age is 76 and resides in the beautiful city of La Verne, CA. She is female, oldest of three children who came from the mid-west, Iowa/Minnesota area. She came to California when she was seven years old. She has been happily married to her husband, a recently retired pastor, for 55 years. They have two daughters, and three grandchildren.
We decided to talk about her personal health and fitness which she says she is fortunate to be able to still exercise and walk everyday with her husband. Her mental health is remarkable; they are truly interacting with the entire neighborhood and a true believer of socializing with all people. It seems she is a model for the Rowe and Kahn’s Model of Successful Aging. She and husband take exercise seriously; maintain a good health and physical function and most importantly loving life. Next, we talked about the health care system, which she feels is not adequate to help the seniors.
Being a pastor’s wife, their church, where he was the pastor, has continuously helped the homeless. Many know how there are older adults stressed with not knowing where their next meal is going to come from, or going to bed with an empty stomach. Some may have a home or a place, but the feeling of waking up to a bare cupboard and spending the day not knowing when they will eat again. This is where the Health Promotion Model comes to show the homeless with help in disease prevention, and their reduced disability in ways of their ADL or IADL limitations.
We talked about her leisure/recreation which consists of helping her 77 year old husband with the garden, but has limitations due to her polymyalgia. They enjoy the Koi pond they have in their back yard, which gives them serenity and calmness. The two of them grow vegetables and fruits, which come in handy when they both are making jam from the fruits they grow. They both are very active in their church activities where she socializes on a regular basis. She helps out her daughter’s mother in law who lives in a retirement center, where she visits every other week.
They seem to use trajectories in their life when her husband and her retired from their jobs respectively. It was a smooth transition and a meaningful experience for them. They both contribute to the society in so many ways. One favorite of theirs is Habit for Humanity, (http://www. habitat. org), which together they started volunteering, but she left to volunteer at the local hospital once a week (her husband continues). We go back to the health issues facing our elderly as they age, where she continues to mentioned how the medical should help more in the alone, lonely elderly and the rising health care.
The homeless that their church supports, state that they help seem to get negative, conflicted help in their ever changing community. Many do not know of the availability of some existed services. Seeing the homeless in their church community really touched and reflects on them a lot. She doesn’t not think that the millions of baby boomers are about to enter a health care system for seniors that not only isn’t ready for them, but may even dampen them from getting quality care.
It seems to her that we face an impending crisis as the growing number of older patients, who are living longer with more complex health needs, increasingly outpaces the number of health care providers with the knowledge and skills to care for them efficiently. In concluding our interview, she comes to understand and realize that how one lives their life, will reflect back to you as you enjoy your senior years. And to live life to the fullest, having fulfilled the dreams they have made, and seen happen but still the challenges they face now as they are getting older.