Lindsey Page |1 Middle or Late Adulthood Observation Paper For the final of the observation papers, I chose to interview my mother. Partly due to the Coronavirus and the quarantine that’s been put into effect, and partly because I am always impressed by her. I interviewed her for an hour and a half this week, we spent most of the time talking about the most current things in her life: declining vision, becoming a grandparent, and her role in life. These topics were covered in chapters 15 and 16. There were sections on vision in chapter 15, so I compared the information in the textbook to my mom’s experience. According to the textbook, the greatest decline in eyesight happens between the ages of 40-59. This happens because, the blood supply in the eye beings to diminish. The textbook states, “the reduced blood supply may decrease the visual field’s size and account for an increase in the eye’s blind spot” (pg. 469). My sister and I have noticed my mom’s vision declining over the past several years and have been encouraging her to get glasses. She finally caved and got them last week. I asked her what prompted her to get glasses and she told me why. Apparently, she was driving home from my sister’s apartment in West Valley last month. It was late at night and had started raining hard. She was having trouble seeing the lines on the road, and when she reached the construction in Lehi, she was terrified. She admits that her glasses do help her see, especially when she’s driving. She said, “There’s a huge difference when I’m driving. It’s much easier to see now.” It’s clear that her eyesight has been declining, just like the textbook explained, and I’m glad she finally accepted that and got glasses. We then talked about her role in life and how she defines herself. Chapter 16 cites a study that asked individuals to finish the sentence “When you think of who you are, you think mainly of ______” (pg. 508). The study found that more than half of the participants said “family”, religion and work were also popular answers (9 percent and 8 percent respectively). Lindsey Page |2 Unsurprisingly, my mom finished the sentence by saying “mom”. She largely still identifies with the mom label even though both of her children are grown. To her, her role in life is still to be a mother or a caregiver. This study also reported that over 80 percent of middle-aged and older adults stated they felt responsible to care for their parents because she is the oldest. My mom spent years caring for her mother in her old age, even though her mother was verbally abusive towards her. My mother was mistreated but her sense of duty overpowered her desire to leave. Lastly, we talked about her new role as a grandparent. Chapter 16 contained several sections on grandparenting, including information on the grandparenting styles and the meanings attached to being a grandparent. There are three meanings connected to being a grandparent: a sense of biological reward, emotional fulfillment (i.e. companionship), and a remote role (pg. 507). At first, my mom thought she had a more remote role. This is because she doesn’t see him all that often, and she’s not the main caregiver for him. However, after a little more explanation she admitted that she gets a lot of emotional fulfillment from spending time with her grandson. There are also three styles of interaction between grandparents and their grandchildren: formal, fun-seeking, and distant (pg. 507). My mom stated that she thought she fit into the funseeking category, where “grandchildren [are] a source of leisure activity” (pg. 507). However, I think she belongs more in the formal category. She stated that she doesn’t push her beliefs or opinions onto her children that are now parents, but she’s willing to offer advice when they ask or if they are obviously struggling. The textbook explained that grandparents who engage in the formal interaction style, “showed a strong interest in their grandchildren but were careful not to give child-rearing advice” (pg. 507). In closing, my mom’s experience in losing her vision follows the textbook and I was able to find connections between her role in life and as a grandparent to concepts in the textbook.