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Assignment; to develop an understanding of what it means to become an elderly person.

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ASSIGNMENT; TO DEVELOP AN UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT IT MEANS TO BECOME AN ELDERLY PERSON. As a person becomes older, certain changes in structure and function of the individual take place. This process is known as ageing. It is this ageing process that causes a person to become elderly, sometimes stopping the individual from doing everything they use to be able to do. To develop a greater understanding of what it means to become elderly, I interviewed an elderly person Frank, finding out his own personal experiences of growing old. When asked about his background Frank explained how he moved to England from Ireland during the war the war in 1943. His previous work experiences were extremely active working on the runways outdoors and labouring at Manchester ship canal until the docks closed down in 1982 when he had to begin taxi driving. These were all strenuous occupations keeping Frank fit and healthy allowing him to work into his late seventies. He explained the only reason for retirement was old age, which stopped him from feeling safe driving at night or in busy periods, therefore stopping him from being able to drive the taxi. ...read more.


Many older people do not want to be a burden on their family and wish to be independent for as long as possible before seeking some other form of care. (Ageing Today pg9). There are no easy answers to help cope with these problems, but the general beliefs that the elderly still have a right to be responsible for themselves as far as possible, and are still valued members of society, are vital when decisions are being made. Another recognized aspect of becoming elderly is that hearing and eyesight may deteriorate. Long-sightedness may develop as soon as the early 40s. People who have previously had good eyesight may now need reading glasses because of changes in the eye due to ageing, and those who have worn glasses because of short-sightedness may need to wear bifocals. It also becomes increasingly difficult for the elderly to distinguish between certain colour hues, particularly blues and greens, and it takes them longer to adjust between light and dark. (Ageing Today pg5). Frank stated that to help his eyesight he now has to wear glasses for short distances but he believes his long distant vision is quite good. ...read more.


He finds himself writing down appointment and messages more than he used to in fear of forgetting them but he does not have any major memory problems. Not all elderly people suffer from dementia. In fact only 10% of people aged over 65 suffer and only 20% of people aged over 80 suffer (Helping older people pg13). Memory and intellect do change but it is not a simple picture of steady and accelerating decline. Brain cells, unlike most other tissue such as skin or muscle, so not regenerate, once stopped growing the number of brain cells does not increase but only gets less. Some sort of decline would therefore seem inevitable. Nevertheless there is good evidence that many people maintain full brain function into advanced old age (Helping older people pg14), which is what Frank was managing to do. Recently, Frank has learnt to be more relaxed and enjoy his family company. Being a very active person he finds it difficult to slow down and constantly likes to be doing something. He has come to terms with the ageing process though and feels lucky to still be able to do the amount he can. After seeing many of his closest friends pass away, he lives each day as it comes valuing the time he has left with those closest to him. ...read more.

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