For this Assignment, please find an older person to interview. This person could be a parent or grandparent or a friend but must be at least 55 years old or older.
Before the interview, prepare by reviewing the class handout on Social and Psychological Theories from to familiarize yourself with the perspectives. But keep the interview simple and use the theories for your reflection AFTER the interview in your write up.
The Interview: Explain to your respondent that this is for a school assignment and you just want to do a short interview. Then ask the following questions and take a few notes.
1. First, gather a few background characteristics- age, ethnicity, gender, self identified social class or any other relevant characteristics. If you know them well you may not have to ask them for this information but be sure to include it in your write up.
Ask your elder the following questions:
2. In what ways do you feel you have remained the same and in what ways have you changed as you have aged?
Have you been affected by the physical changes of aging? How?
Writing up the report: After this short interview, analyze how their responses support or don’t support the theories from our class handout. Write a short (max 3 page) paper organized around the following.
1. Who did you interview and what is your relationship to this person? What is their age, basic background including ethnicity, gender, any other relevant characteristics that inform the interview. This can be very short (one paragraph)
2. Of the theories presented in your class handout, which theories seem most relevant to your interview? You can keep this broad but mention at least two of the theories from the handout that seem most applicable to your interview.
3. Does your interview support the idea that fundamental personality stays the same throughout life or that there are significant changes in the sense of self as they age? Explain briefly.
3. Did this person express a sense of disengagement from social life as they age? Or did they express more continuity to their sense of self? (see handout)
4. Does your respondent suggest that aging has been impacted by their gender, ethnicity or economic status?
Don’t overthink this assignment. Review the theory handout carefully. But it is not meant to be a theory discussion with your elder. Instead, just use whatever their answers are to reflect on the theories you are learning in class. Your grade will be based on organization, clarity and connection to the theories.
3. How have those physical changes affected your own sense of identity? 3. How has your outlook on life changed since youth?
4. Do you think your gender, ethnicity or economic status has shaped your aging in any way?