Part A: Observation
On Sunday evening Chinatown was very lively, filled with people of a variety of age groups, including the elderly. Upon my observations of the older generation I found that they tended to most commonly walk in pairs, with the aid of a walking stick or with a family. They moved much slower than the rest of the crowd and often stopped to look around or interact with objects nearby, this included the heaters near the tables at restaurants which many elderly people came up to warm their hands near. I also noted that if they were accompanied by younger generations they would play a passive role in activities such as dining.
Part B: Interview
In order to gain an understanding of how people aged 65+ maintain a sense of being, belonging and becoming, I interviewed 72-year-old widow Barbara McEvoy. Barbara is a highly social person and is currently a part of a weekly coffee group, a craft group, a singing group, a swimming group and a group of friends she went to school with. When asked When asked how many friendship groups in total she is a part of Barbara answered “Umm probably six”.
Each of these groups allow Barbara to feel a sense of belonging within her community causing her to feel “healthier and happier”. Barbara then goes on to state that “I am more informed because I am mixing with people” therefore developing her sense of becoming as she experiences a wide range of people each day. Barbara also isn’t shy of technology “I’m in constant contact with my friends and family on the phone and on my ipad… I enjoy that”, most of her interactions with her grandchildren are through Facebook and this way she can keep up to date and play an active part in their lives. Overall, Barbara has demonstrated how being, belonging and becoming can be brought together and maintained through constant communication and socializing with a variety of people.
In regards to her challenges Barbara does admit that she could benefit from some home-care so that she can relax more. When speaking of the home-care Barbara did seem to be put off due to the lengthy process “it’s not expensive if It’s subsidized by the government, that is once it’s approved and assessed”. Barbara overall doesn’t seem to have complete trust in the medical system and is on a private health fund “for the simple reason that I don’t think my needs would be addressed otherwise and if they were, sometimes it’s too late to help you”. Her concerns express the concerns of many elderly people whose needs are not being met due to an overpopulated health system. This expresses the need for innovation in this sector as the world’s population ages.
Overall, Barbara has been able to maintain her well-being through the various activities she does throughout the week. While she worries about her physical health, she is encouraged by the people around her and has plans for the future including overseas travel. Upon the conclusion of our interview Barbara blurted without prompt “Oh and Christmas, I love Christmas!” thus encapsulating her desire for socializing.