For this assessment task you will develop a person-centred narrative about an older person. You will need to engage with an older person over a three-week period through some semi-structured conversations. You will need to keep notes in a journal about your conversations with the older person and the information that you have elicited.
This task should highlight your understanding about the older person across four domains: (i) personal history/biography; (ii) experiences of ageing; (iii) chronic conditions/comorbidities and (iv) and wishes for their future.
Based on your journal entries/notes you will need to craft a person-centred narrative (in the form of an essay) that addresses the above four domains. You must also identify in your narrative three key needs of the older person, at least one physical and one psychosocial.
TITLE OF THE ASSIGNMENT: PERSON-CENTRED NARRATIVE
The advancements in the medical field have accounted for an increase in life expectancy thus raising the percentage of elderly people. Incoming 30 years, the world's population ratio of over 60 years age is estimated to approximately double (WHO, 2021). Thus, the liability of governments is increasing to help the elderly population lead a comfortable and healthy life. Despite all the effort and global focus, many senior citizens face a challenging life (Vinmalar, 2018). Support from the government and family is much needed at this dawn of life to make aging an enjoyable journey. This essay concentrates on the real-life case of a retired 80-year-old female, her aging experience, and prospects.
Mary is a pleasant 80-year-old female. She grew up in a rural area with her parents and 5 siblings. After completing her studies she joined as a preschool teacher. From her young age, she worked as a social worker to uplift low-income families and their children. After her retirement also she continued with her social work as she finds it purposeful and gives meaning to her life. She got married at the age of 22 and she has four children. All of them are well settled in their lives and are leading a prosperous life. Presently she is living with one of her son and his family. She has a great bonding with her grandchildren and enjoys spending time with them. The biggest personal and emotional blow to her was when she lost her husband at the age of 75. It was quite difficult for her to manage her emotions and still, she feels isolated and alone. Although, she tries to keep her busy. She spent time in her social work and other community activities for the aged. The community and family are the centers of her well-being. Mary has established ways to stay connected with the people around her. She has regular phone contact with her siblings and other family members. Since retirement, she is spending an active life and tries to stay physically active. She enjoys gardening and walking to keep herself active. She also keeps herself busy by reading books and spending time in old-age community centers where she finds people of her age.
EXPERIENCE OF AGEING
Ms. Mary is a strong woman and is approaching aging positively. She doesn't think a lot about aging and feels that older age brings an opportunity to pursue her dreams, new activities, and serving society. A survey conducted by the Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation (University of Michigan) found that approximately 66% of older people find that aging is quite better and they are enjoying it (Berman, 2020). Although it is worth mentioning good health becomes imperative to pursue a passion (WHO, 2018). Mary also feels that aging has its impact especially since losing a job on retirement had a huge impact on her psycho-emotional status (Ho et al., 2018). Thus, she tries to do things of her interest and things she enjoys doing.
Mary also highlighted that technological development especially changing modes of communication has influenced aging widely and has brought people closer. Social networking and other modes are impacting the lives of aged people in direct and indirect ways (Bloom and Luca, 2016).
On the other hand, she is surrounded by some apprehensions. She anticipates the fear of isolation and thinks that growing age would increase her dependency. After the age of 80, it becomes quite difficult to live an independent life especially when she is suffering from diabetes and related co-morbidities. Hence, thinking about the future makes her a bit restless as to how she would manage if her dependency increases with time (Vinmalar, 2018).
COMORBIDITIES AND OTHER CHRONIC CONDITIONS
Mary has a 15-year history of type 2 diabetes. She had symptoms indicating hyperglycemia for quite along. She had fasting blood glucose records indicating values of 127-134 mg/dl, which were indicative of “highly diabetic.” She also has some other co-morbidities like nephropathy with increased levels of serum creatinine, neuropathy, and foot pain. The long-term diabetic state has also caused a hearing problem. Mary is using a hearing aid, although she is quite comfortable with the hearing aid. She also suffers from joint pain especially in her knees which sometimes accounts for her immobility.
The family history depicted that her father had type 2 diabetes. At present, two of her siblings are also diabetic. The long-term disease is affecting her overall health status as diabetes is a silent killer (Ho et al., 2018). Sometimes Mary suffers from psychological distress and anxiety due to the disease. She feels that diabetes might lead to a chronic condition and might deteriorate her quality of life.
WISH FOR FUTURE
Despite her disease, Mary has a positive approach towards her life. She is a conscious lady and has clear needs to make her future comfortable.
Firstly she wants to stay physically active and plans to control her sugar level by keeping herself active. She wants to enjoy her passion and hobbies to relax. She believes that pursuing passion would make the future of older people more comfortable (Vinmalar, 2018). In this context, her second need is to learn self-management of diabetes as self-management is one of the best means of overcoming the disease (Spollett, 2003).
Another noteworthy need to secure her future is care and support from loved ones. In her future, she wishes to spend more time with her loved ones and seek their care, affection, encouragement, and empathy. In her future, she wishes to practice resilience and optimism to help her have a contended life. Mary’s approach is quite positive and would help her to maintain an independent and good quality (Cummings et al., 2018)
Lastly, she feels a need of better policies for her and other older people. In her future, she expects that government should come up with policies that strengthen the capabilities of the elderly. She also feels that she would get associated with long-term care or elderly care set up which could address her needs and preferences. She wishes for more people-centered and integrated health services which would be age-friendly (Bell et al., 2016; WHO, 2018).
A detailed analysis in this study brings out the need and precautions to be considered to have secure aging. It is high time that the legislation should consider the aged people as their heritage and work for their betterment (Conkova and Lindenberg, 2020). It is worth mentioning that government agencies like WHO are rigorously working towards this aim and have come up with a comprehensive Global Strategy and Action Plan on Ageing and Health. The Action Plan aims to focus on several activities related to certain priority areas (WHO, 2018). The aged people deserve a happy life and more such initiatives ate much awaited.