Gerontology

Interview six individuals, including at least one from each of the following categories: 80 years old and above,
70-79, 60-69, 50-59, 30-49, and 20-29. Ask each person for the following:
Their definitions of aging and old.
How they see themselves in relationship to others in their own age cohort and how they see themselves in
relationship to those in older and younger cohorts.
What factors they feel have influenced their own aging process.
You may also want to ask additional questions that have occurred to you as you did the reading for this unit.
*Note that you can find people of varying ages within your own family or neighborhood—interviews with these
people would be ideal. Be sure not to use the interviewees’ names in your paper—you may make up names or
just number them (this is to be sure that the people who are kind enough to talk with you have their
confidentiality preserved). If you have any difficulty in obtaining people to interview, please contact your
instructor.
Write a 5-6 page paper in which you answer the following questions:
Describe each interviewee’s views on aging, being old, and their view of other people’s aging processes in
relationship to their own.
Analyze the impact of each interviewee’s beliefs about aging on personal well-being. How do you think they
formed their beliefs?
Assess the biological, psychological, and social ages of each interviewee—do they match?
Assess the functional age you believe each interviewee reports by considering their ability to carry out activities
of daily living. Discuss whether the functional age you determine is the same as their chronological age and
discuss any differences you may see between the two.
Compare the age groups of interviewees for differences—describe the differences and whether you believe
they are or are not related to chronological age.
Describe and discuss any myths of aging you may have heard from interviewees as you were talking with
them. Why do you think that these are “myths” vs. “truths?”
Considering these six people as your teachers, project how you might approach your own aging if you were 20
years of age today.
Discuss briefly points where your interview findings and the text agreed or disagreed.

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